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Anastasiia Oliinyk: I want to build future of my country

This summer, I left Ukraine for the first time since the start of a full-scale war. My path lay on the Bakala Journey, an educational program for journalists, and it was hard for me to imagine what it would be like to live without constant air raid warnings and not think about the curfew.
Foto: Courtesy of Anastasiia Oliinyk
I’ll be lying if I say that I was not afraid it seemed that people from other countries were so tired of the constant influx of Ukrainians that – I would turn out to be a black sheep. I remember how even at the stage of planning a transfer from Kyiv, the organizer said that they would take care of my flight. Then I just smiled, trying to remember the last time I saw a civilian plane in the Ukrainian sky. All this created the feeling that since February 24, 2022, I live in a different world. However, stronger than the feeling of fear in my heart was a sense of duty. It was my honor to remind the international community once again what my fellow citizens go through every day and why their support is so important to us. Ukrainians are fighting not only for their country, we are fighting for almost the entire civilized world. The war unleashed by Russia cannot be lost, otherwise it will be a cynical outrage against democracy.
The only way to improve is to learn from others – for better or worse.
And here I was in Prague, noticing how the war has changed our daily lives. For the last year and a half, education at my university took place only in an online format. It was unusual to feel the live audience and speakers again, and not to greet classmates through the zoom window. I was in Prague, a city devoid of sirens and air defenses. In a city where people live ordinary lives. We try to continue to live such a life here, in Kyiv, but it would be naive to think that someday it will be like before. It felt like I was back in a carefree 2021.
Well-groomed, European streets of Prague sometimes reminded me of our Ukrainian Lviv. The Czech capital surprised with its beauty and the thought flew through my head about how much more opportunities we could have if we became a country of the European Union. I wanted to memorize and learn as much as possible to bring it home. I don't want to emigrate, I want to build the future of my country.
Foto: Ondřej Besperát / Bakala Foundation
Anastasiia Oliinyk
The road back, from Prague to Kyiv, took more than a day on the bus. During this time, I had a lot of opportunities to rethink Ukrainian journalism, to draw a parallel with the experience of colleagues from all over the world whom I met during the journey. I made a decision for myself: the only way to improve is to learn from others – for better or worse. And I know that one day we will become for the whole world not only an example of resilience and strength, but also a comfortable and safe state for life.
Anastasiia Oliinyk lives and studies journalism in Kiev, Ukraine. She is a talented poet and has won a national competition. While studying at Taras Shevchenko National University, she also works at the national daily KyivVlada. In August this year, she participated in the Bakala Journey program in Prague, an intensive bootcamp program for journalists from all over the world organized by Bakala Foundation.
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