April 1, 2015

Nikolai

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Text: Maria Herchak 

Even when you think, there is no way out, you have to go on. If what you do is right, you’ll always manage to find a way.

There is one story, I think everyone should know. It’s a story of hope, unconditional love and solidarity.

When our friends from St. Egidio in Kiev met Nikolai, he was near to death. A couple of unreasonably demented and violent people decided, it would be fun to burn a homeless man, sleeping in a building, hiding from the January frost…

In present Ukraine so many people die every day because of the war, but what happened to Nikolai shocked and moved so many people, not only from Ukraine. I am amazed, how many are ready to help someone, who they don’t know and, probably, will never meet.

When our homeless friend woke from his unconscious dream, he could feel, that a miracle happened: so many people were asking about him, praying for his health and sending money for the operations he needed. Our friend Timur was visiting him constantly and bringing postcards, letters and presents for Nikolai from his new friends, who couldn’t wait to see him walking and smiling, even if only on a photography.

Nikolai would never have thought he’ll be known in far Paris – Tomislav and Olivier, who are also homeless, are supporting him! A wave of solidarity covered the man, who, it seemed, was doomed to live the rest of his life alone, on the cold streets of a four million city or simply die in terrible pain of the burned wounds. He was given a chance for a completely new life.

But, maybe, he was not tough or young enough. He lived a hard life, full of pain and disappointments. Yesterday his old heart got too tired and stopped beating.

I am sure he is now in a much better place, but I want his story to live, to be an example of how beautiful and important it is to give hope to those, who are left behind and isolated in our societies. Sometimes we can’t imagine how much those people can give us and teach us to treasure life.

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