A Prince Edward Island family has opened their home to a Ukrainian farmer forced to abandon her fields and her family shortly after Russia invaded the country in late February.
Kyle and Pia MacDonald of Cable Head East, P.E.I., hope that by sharing their story, more Canadians will step up to help Ukrainian refugees.
“They lost everything and anything that we can do to help them rebuild that here in Canada, I think Canada would be better off for that.” said Kyle MacDonald.
MacDonald said that he and his wife, Pia, connected with Ana Losieva from Mykolaiv, Ukraine, on Facebook. She arrived in B.C. in the spring and was looking to move to eastern Canada.
She settled in at their home in July and has already had a profound impact on their family, said MacDonald.
“It has changed our lives in a very, very meaningful way,” he said, saying her story of love, resiliency and loss is heartbreaking.
Losieva and her husband were fruit farmers in Ukraine before the war broke out. While Anna made her way to Canada, her husband continues to fight in the war along with her brother, who is now fighting on the front lines of the conflict.
“It’s like it is not your life. It is like a scary dream you can’t wake up (from),” she said.
She said she wakes up every day dreading the news of where the bombs may have struck her hometown of Mykolaiv, where her mother, father and grandfather continue to live.
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“When I call my mom in the evenings I can always listen to bombs in the background,” she said.
She said she is grateful to the MacDonalds for giving her a safe place to live and a job so she can send money back home to her family.
“All of this community is very kind and very supportive,” she said.
She worries about her husband most, a fruit farmer turned soldier.
“When I always hear his voice it sounds different,” she said, forever changed by war.
Instead of growing cherry trees he’s dodging bombs like the ones that now litter their farmland.
Meanwhile, Ana is overwhelmed with gratitude to be safe here in Canada.
“You can’t feel all this happiness inside because … now when you spend your day with this family in this beautiful place, maybe your family is sitting in (a) basement,” she said.
Her stories are heartbreaking for the MacDonalds now working tirelessly to bring some of Ana’s friends and family to Canada.
MacDonald is encouraging other Canadians to open their homes to refugees like Anna.
“Any Ukrainian that is in the war zone that needs safe refuge should be able to come to Canada,” MacDonald said.
Anna said is unsure if she will ever get back home to the farm and the life she once knew. There may be nothing left to return to.
“We will have all these rockets in our soil, in the cherries. That is why it is very (dangerous) to come to this place now,” she said.
She now dreams of one day being reunited with her husband on the shores of P.E.I.