Connect with us

News

“Before the war, we had a happy life and big plans for the future”

Published

on

0251277_Alina_Balan.jpg

By Natalya Krasnenkova

Today (Friday) marks a full year since Russia's invasion of Ukraine which saw millions of people flee for their lives.

SPECIAL BOND: Viktor Balan pictured with his daughter Zlata.

Countries across Europe opened their doors offering safety, jobs and a place in schools for their children to settle and learn without fear.

This week the Killarney Advertiser spoke to Alina Balan who tells us about the horrors they saw and the heartbreak of leaving her husband behind to fight for the country's freedom.

Viktor Balan is now defending Ukraine in the ranks of the armed forces and Alina is now safe in Ireland protecting their children from the war.

Alina came to Killarney with their daughters Katya (13) and Zlata (6) from the city Vinnytsia in central Ukraine on March 24. They are currently staying in the Towers Hotel.

She recalls that February 24 last year turned their family's life upside down.

"From that day on, all our plans and dreams were completely destroyed," she told the Killarney Advertiser.

"Before the war, we had a happy life and big plans for the future. In Ukraine, I worked with documentation in an automobile company. My husband, Viktor, worked in a construction company and was actively involved in sports. Our daughters Katya and Zlata attended school, kindergarten and various clubs, and especially loved to do gymnastics. Our dogs Ricci and Busia were an integral part of our family. Every evening we had a tradition of gathering for dinner together and sharing events. Every weekend we went to visit our relatives and also travelled. Our family liked to lead an active lifestyle."

The Balan family still clearly remember the terrible morning of February 24. They saw explosions in the city, the deaths of civilians and the destruction of houses shown on TV every day. Alina’s husband could not stand aside and decided to join the Armed Forces in order to protect his family and the Motherland.

"Frankly speaking, my husband's decision was very difficult for me. But later I realised that he acted like a real man, a defender of his country. I fully support him in this difficult time for us," Alina recalls.

After her husband left for the war, it was very difficult for Alina to stay alone with the two children who were frightened by the constant sounds of sirens which, as a result, they experienced anxiety and stress.

One morning after loud explosions near the house where the Balan family lived, they decided to go from Vinnytsia. Alina understood that the safety of her children was the most important thing.

"In a matter of minutes I packed our whole life into three backpacks. We didn't even know where to go. Fortunately, my director invited us to her home. That's how we ended up in West Ukraine. But it was dangerous there too; the same sirens and rocket attacks."

After consulting her husband she decided to go to Ireland with the children. This also took some stress from Victor as he knows they are in a safe place.

"Now I only worry about him," says Alina.

EMOTIONAL

The road to Ireland was quite emotionally difficult for her and the children. Despite the exhaustion from the trip, Alina was finally calm, because they were safe. The family is lucky enough to find themselves in the picturesque town of Killarney, where they adapt to life. The girls attend school and spend a lot of time in nature with their mother.

Alina is interested in the history of Ireland and finds a lot in common with the history of Ukraine. She is impressed by kindness, sincerity and care of the people of Killarney.

"Wherever we turned, we were helped - this is impressive," added Alina.

"No matter where we are now, no matter how much we suffer due to separation from my husband, the main thing is - the greatest force in the world - love - warms us inside. During this time, we clearly understood that you can't postpone life for later. We need to appreciate every minute."

Alina's daughters miss their dad very much. They recently visited him in Ukraine during Viktor's short vacation.

"Honey, it's your birthday soon. We will remember most carefully the desire for the fastest victory. We love you very much, I'm sure we will soon hug you. We are proud of you. Ukraine is a great nation of indomitable people united for each other, for freedom and victory," Alina conveys her greetings.

 

Віктор Балан зараз захищає Україну в лавах збройних сил України, а його дружина Аліна захищає їхніх дітей від війни в Ірландії.
 

Аліна Балан приїхала в Кіларні з доньками Катя (13) та Злата (6) з міста Вінниця (Центральна Україна).

Аліна згадує, що 24 лютого минулого року перевернуло життя їхньої родини: “Починаючи з цього дня всі наші плани та мрії були повністю зруйновані. До початку війни в нас було щасливе життя та великі плани на майбутнє. В Україні я працювала з документацією в автомобільній компанії. Мій чоловік – Віктор, працював у будівельній компанії та активно займався спортом. Наші доньки Катя та Злата
відвідували школу, садочок та різноманітні гуртки особливо полюбляли
займатись гімнастикою. Наші собаки Річчі та Буся були невід’ємною частиною
нашої сім’ї. Щовечора у нас була традиція збиратись за вечерею та ділитись подіями
дня. Кожні вихідні ми їздили навідати наших родичів, а також подорожували. Наша сім’я любила вести активних спосіб життя”.
Родина Балан досі чітко пам’ятає жахливий ранок 24 лютого. Вони бачили вибухи в місті, по телевізору щодня показували загибель мирних людей, руйнування будинків. Тоді чоловік Віктор не міг стояти осторонь і ухвалив рішення вступити в ЗСУ, аби захищати свою сім’ю, Батьківщину.
“Відверто кажучи, мені рішення чоловіка далось
дуже важко. Та згодом я зрозуміла, що він вчинив як справжній чоловік та
захисник своєї країни. Я повністю підтримую його в цей нелегкий для нас
час”, - згадує Аліна.
Після того, як чоловік пішов на війну, Аліні було дуже важко залишитися самій з двома
дітьми. Від постіних звуків сирен діти та Аліна були налякані та пережили тривогу та
стрес.
Одного ранку після гучних вибухів неподалік будинку де жила родини Балан, вони
вирішили поїхати з Вінниці. Аліна розуміла, що безпека її дітей – це найважливіше.
“За лічені хвилини все наше життя я зібрала в три рюкзаки. Ми навіть не знали куди
їхати. На щастя, нас запросила до себе моя директорка. Так ми опинились на Західній
Україні. Але і тут було небезпечно, ті самі сирени та ракетні обстріли. Порадившись з
чоловіком, ми вирішили поїхати з дітьми до Ірландії. Моєму чоловікові
нарешті стало спокійно за нас. Він знає що ми перебуваємо в безпечному місці. Тепер я хвилююсь тільки за нього”, - каже Аліна.

Дорога до Ірландії була досить емоційно важкою для Аліни та дітей. Попри виснаженість від подорожі, Аліна була нарешті спокійна, адже вона та діти опинились в безпеці. Родині пощастило потрапити в мальовниче містечко Кіларні, де вони адаптуються до життя.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

News

Killarney twinned with Italian town

By Sean Moriarty It has taken 10 years but the Italian town of Casperia is now an official twin town with Killarney. The idea to twin the picturesque town near […]

Published

on

0253621_IMG20230319000743439.jpg

By Sean Moriarty

It has taken 10 years but the Italian town of Casperia is now an official twin town with Killarney.

The idea to twin the picturesque town near Rome was first mooted by the old Killarney Town Council.

However, when town councils were discontinued in 2014 the task was handed over to Killarney Town Twining Association and was supported by the elected Killarney Municipal District members of Kerry County Council.

A delegation from the association and the council visited Casperia in 2019 to sign the Italian side of the twining agreement.

The pandemic further delayed the process but on Thursday last Killarney Mayor Niall Kelleher and Casperia Mayor Marco Cusso met to formally sign the charter in Killarney.

“This was honouring a commitment made by the former town council to establish a twinning under European guidelines back in 2014,” said association chairman Sean Counihan.

“Unfortunately the town councils were abolished and Killarney Town Twinning Association pursued the matter.

“We are delighted that the municipal authority saw fit to move the beautiful town of Casperia near Rome from association status to full twinning with Killarney.

“We deeply appreciate the members’ positivity in honouring the former Town Council’s decision.”

The signing between the two mayors took place over the St Patrick’s Festival weekend when Killarney Town Twining Association also welcomed groups from other towns like Pleindfeld in Germany and Concord, North Carolina, USA.

Attachments

Continue Reading

News

Music and fun at Fossa Rambling House

By Sean Moriarty The Fossa Two Mile branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann held its first Rambling House night of music and dance on Saturday night. Their return to the stage […]

Published

on

0253568_Unknown.jpeg

By Sean Moriarty

The Fossa Two Mile branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann held its first Rambling House night of music and dance on Saturday night.

Their return to the stage was timed to coincide with the St Patrick’s weekend celebration and also marked the first big event at the Castlerosse Park Resort since it re-opened on Thursday night following its winter break.

As well as a feat of Irish music, dance and poetry, Fossa-based Ukrainians gave performances in their native language too.

“What a great night we had at our CCÉ Rambling House last Saturday night,” Chairman Tim Kissane said.

“There are so many people to thank that we apologise in advance if we miss anybody out. Firstly, to the management and staff Castlerosse Park Resort for hosting our event and the wonderful service they provided.

“To our very talented stalwart musicians Mike Jack, Noreen and Maura who entertained us all so well from start to finish.

“To all our guest performers, from The Racing Pigeons to the Biddy Group and all the singers, musicians and storytellers in between go raibh mile maith agaibh. Special mention to our Ukrainian singers who performed two songs in their native language for us on the night. Thank you to all our members and supporters and to Fear an Tí, Mick Myers agus Bean an Tí, Theresa Kissane who kept the night flowing. Our fireplace display was kindly lent to us by the Beaufort Pioneers and adorned with ‘things of old’ from Brendan O’Sullivan.”

Attachments

Continue Reading

LOCAL ADS

Last News

Advertisement

Sport

Trending