Thursday, September 13, 2012

Home Visit to Hesed Client on the way to Zaparozhye

Luisa Nomirovskaya was born in 1937 to a Jewish family in Khabarovsk (Russia). She was a small child when in 1941, a few months before the war, Luisa’s mother Sarah and smaller brother died of typhoid fever while her father was serving in the Soviet army thousands of miles from home. Luisa remained totally alone until her aunt Hanna (Sarah’s sister) came for her and took her to Zaporozhye.

When a few months later the war broke out and the Nazis started to bomb Zaporozhye, Hanna and Luisa had to evacuate back to Khabarovsk where they stayed until 1945. Luisa’s father Alexander went to the frontline where he was killed in 1943. After the war Hanna adopted Luisa and they returned to Zaporozhye. 

In a few years Luisa finished school and then medical college.  She worked as the nurse at the hospital where she met her husband who was a doctor. In 1962 she gave birth to a son Vladimir.

Unfortunately after ten years of happy family life Luisa’s husband left the family. She did her best to bring up her son alone, striving to give him good education. Luisa and her son lived together until 2005 when he unexpectedly died of pneumonia leaving her desperate and totally alone. Luisa suffers from hypertension and vascular diseases. She is surviving today on modest monthly pension in a neglected hut without gas and running water, getting to the town very seldom – to visit her son’s grave.

Thanks to participation in House Repairs’ Project, Luisa received the opportunity to enjoy the comfort of improved living conditions. The temperature inside the house increased and the dampness became lower thanks to repaired and winterized roof. Besides, living conditions became more safe and secure. Now Luisa has the opportunity to use new built warm toilet instead of the old one, which was falling in pieces and had nothing but a hole in the ground.

Monthly income: 1050UAH = $129

Assistance received from Hesed Welfare Center:
  • Homecare
  • Refrigerator (Nazi Victims SOS program)
  • Foods-to-home
  • Medications
  • Winter Relief
  • House repairs
Her roof was repaired, we installed an outhouse toilet. She's growing cabbage, pepper, tomatoes. Not much, but it supplements. “I'm so happy. Oksana helps me cook, she does laundry, she helps me in the garden, we can chat together.” Oksana lives 15 minutes away, Luisa is her only client – there are no other clients in the area. It’s very isolated. She's been living here for 13 years. The floor is crumbling.
The son tried to cut business deals, took a loan, didn’t succeed – they took the apartment then he died.

I’m so grateful. The roof was leaking in the winter. Thank you so much. I can live here. The toilet is like a new home. She also has a new outdoor shower – the container heats up during the day, you stand underneath it.

Hesed brings food and drinking water (the municipal water isn’t for drinking) once a month. In winter or heavy rain the approach road isn’t driveable so the Hesed driver stops 3 miles away and loads up her supplies on his back or a cart and walks down the road with them. This isn’t a very populated area, there's one nice neighbor, no heating, no drinking water. If I didn’t have the Hesed and the community I wouldn’t live on this earth. Spasiba Bolshoya. When we left, she walked us to the minivan, smiling, waving. So happy to see us. Loves visitors.

It’s amazing what an improvement in hygiene can do. We brought some fruit and cookies. She has a hot plate and coal oven. It’s a neglected and abandoned industrial zone.

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