Victoria Kondrușenko, 36 years old

Bagajele abandonului

“Before the war, we had such wonderful and perfect lives. The photo is taken before the war, in a park on an island. I loved walking there with my little girl and my husband, among the trees, with some coffee or tea and a sandwich. Back then we thought it was routine and only now do we realise that we were truly happy, because now we’ve lost what we had.

When we saw the news, we didn’t believe it. Even now we cannot believe that it’s really happened. When we woke up that morning, a year ago, I hoped that my husband had just joked about the start of the war. We had an hour to pick up our stuff and go to Kyiv. Because we realised that Zaporizhzhia wasn’t safe. The city is very close to the Donetsk region.

We took our daughter, who is 8 years old. It was a miracle that my husband put everything we needed in the car. We put some clothes, the documents, medicine and water in the luggage. My daughter took a few toys in a backpack. I also took my laptop for work because I understood that we would not be getting back home for a while. It’s very difficult to fit your whole life in a suitcase.

Story collected by Bogdan Dincă for the Suitcases of Abandonment campaign. Project funded by CARE through SERA Romania, Care France and FONPC.

Last Day of Peace, First Night of War is an interactive digital installation, part of the Museum of Abandonment, a digital wall of images showing the last days of peace collected from mobile phones.