Born to be free

Many of us cannot even imagine what we would do if we had to leave our homes behind. The home that gives us comfort, safety and warmth. The ordinary weekdays which, in their own way, offer comfort to the weary soul. Many of us do not have to live from one day to the next one not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Unlike Irina, who spent her first days in Hungary waiting at the railway station for someone willing to help her.

The story of the only nineteen-year-old mother and her newborn baby, named Alex Abram, is not an ordinary one. A week after the war broke out, Irina and her family were forced to leave Ukraine. They desperately crossed the border leaving fathers, husbands and brothers behind. After three extremely long and tiresome days at the railway station in Záhony, Hungarian Gypsy Missions International rushed to their aid. The family got sheltered in Demecser from where Irina got into the hospital in Debrecen a few days later as her baby was on the way. Within a short time, she gave birth to a healthy little boy, Alex Abram.

‘He was born a few days prior as we expected. It must have been the anxiety that induced labour.’ said Irina while rocking the baby. Then she added:

‘The childbirth was easy, almost painless. After everything we had been through, it nearly seemed effortless.’

Alex Abram is her second child. She lost her daughter to an illness back in Ukraine. Alex’s father has not seen the child yet as he had to stay in Ukraine to fulfil his military obligations. But other family members have also decided to return home, Irina told us. Her sister left Hungary for Ukraine.

‘She couldn’t deal with the uncertainty. I have no intention of going back, though.’

‘Poverty and famine there are unbearable these days’ agrees Irina’s mother.

During our brief conversation, the child slept peacefully in his mother’s arms, unaware of the strange and chaotic circumstances in which he was born. The long journey, the seemingly endless wait at the train station, the lack of normality and the loss they all had experienced all of a sudden, took their strength. Now everything they want is to rest ‘for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’