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Sunday, October 1, 2023

The book of farewells written at Toruń Główny

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It marks 1:03 in the afternoon on October 7 with 16 degrees in the city of Toruń, a city that during the first days of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has received over 600 Ukrainian refugees. Unlike the days of February and March when the evacuation began, the cold weather has not been a deterrent to find a better life, as there are only a few days left with a bit of sun.

Now of those 100 people who walked the territory of Toruń daily in February and March, today only 10 or 15 are counted during the weekdays, it all depends on the days that the calendar marks. During the weekend, life is diverse, from 50 to approximately 60 Ukrainians arrive each Friday to stay in the city, which according to train operators only consider it a stopover to their final destination. Children travel with stuffed animals and toys, teenagers with books and headphones, while adults are responsible for carrying only the luggage to prevent the weight from feeling like carrying the world on the shoulders of the members of each family.

“We no longer receive as many passengers from Ukraine as in the month of March, now we receive very few, no more than 15 and they want to obtain shelter with one of the inhabitants, since the three shelters that were established at the beginning, none exist anymore. “, said a ticket seller at the Toruń Glowny station.

The shelters that were adapted within Toruń were located in Twarde Pierniki, the Municipal Athletics Club and Gotyk Toruń Sports Club, however they were only intended to give people shelter for no more than two months. According to the mayor of Toruń, Michał Zaleski, in an interview for the Toruń Nasze Miasto media outlet, some of the Ukrainian refugees plan to stay in the city for two or three years, so since March they began with city a development plan for the population growth, as well as for the educational offer and job opportunities for those who decide to stay.

When dark skies fall at 7:35 in the evening, the heat drops, the raindrops slide on the windows and the faces of the passengers are reflected with less precision, Bogdan, who’s 5 years old, stares in the distance at the station of the city that allowed him to have a space to sleep, eat and have fun with other children for over four months, fortunately, his mother obtained a work permit in the city of Warsaw, so he will have to change the tourist sphere from Toruń to the monotony of the Warsaw capital.

He smiles at the window, greets and says goodbye, without knowing what the future awaits him. His mother, on the other hand, declared that for now she wants to think that the situation will be better, because not only since February of this year life has been hard for Ukraine, but since the beginning of 2014, when the conflicts between Russia and his nation began strongly.

From warm temperatures of 18 degrees to less than 5 degrees, some families travel to have a break for all the chaos they have experienced during this year, with the intention of making it last.

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