By Sarah Gilot
Smiles on the lips, mutual aid, and moments of complicity…
That’s what they found Marina and SerhiUkrainian refugee couple, alongside the Ferreira family. Marie Roseson husband Alainand their daughter nelly did not hesitate for a second to welcome the couple when they arrived in Toulouse. Since then, everyone has lived to the rhythms of the others, learning from each other.
Arrival at the Ferreiras
May 2022, Marina and Serhii arriving by car in Toulouse, “we stopped here because we had no more gas or money to go further”, explains Marina. But we wanted to come to France because we have always loved this country”. A decision taken following the magnitude of the Ukraine / Russia conflict.
But in fact, Marina and Serhii have left Ukraine since the end of 2021 for Poland, where they… met, “we both worked in a company in Poland, and friends introduced us”. The chemistry presents, and despite attempts to return to Ukraine, the young couple understands that they no longer have a choice.
“The war is advancing in Ukraine, Serhii’s apartment in Kharkiv has been destroyed, I don’t know about mine. We can’t go back there because we don’t even know if we have a place where to go. At the end of April, we lost our job in Poland. So we knew we had to leave.”
Arriving in Toulouse, the couple spent a few days at the city gymnasium, organized to accommodate refugees (since the beginning of the conflict, Toulouse has helped more than 960 refugees). And a few days later, a first family welcomed home Marina and Serhii. “The family went on vacation some time after and wanted to find a family where the couple would go while they waited. They came to my parents’ house and never left. We found each other well, “says Nelly Ferreira.
Since, Marina and Serhii their days spent with Marie-Rose and Alain.
“I try to explain to them how to walk around the house, I try to teach them the language. They are very respectful and intelligent people. We too had fled Portugal for France in 1976, so we know what they resentment.”
Housed, the couple have their room at the Ferreira family, and struggles to be independent. “They have help with the Red Cross, Catholic relief and others. They have the right to their race, sometimes to clothes, to French lessons and also to a listening line. » A SIM card with a phone plan is even supported by the Toulouse City Hall until August.
In the kitchen, it was sometimes necessary… to adapt. “In Ukraine it’s not like in France, they don’t have time to eat. So sometimes, Marina and Serhii eating a dish in the morning, when we are at breakfast. But Marina was a cook in Ukraine so she makes us good food at times, and we make them taste it too! “, Explain Marie Rose.
A new life
By coming to Toulouse, the couple managed to find a new life. The help and benevolence of the Ferreira family brought them heartfelt comfort. “If we leave here, we will miss them,” says Marina. “We are already starting to worry about Marie Rose if it’s hot, she shouldn’t move much,” adds Serhii.
The couple is still waiting for their final visa, which is expected in September. After that, Marina and Serhii have already each found a job as a cleaning lady and a plasterer.
But a major objective remains in front of them: to get the son out of Marina from Ukraine. A young man of 19, he has been stuck in the country and staying with friends since the start of the conflict. For him, every trip is risky. In communication with his mother, they try to have him repatriated for university reasons.
A difficult ordeal for this mother who can count on the support of Marie Rose, “As soon as I see her sad, I try to talk to her and change her mind. I set the mood. »
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