Emotional reunion for a Ukrainian family in Calgary – Calgary

As war raged in Ukraine, Oksana Konoplia faced a heartbreaking decision. She left her husband and separated her daughter from her father Max to find safety in Canada,

“It was a difficult decision because I never dreamed of leaving my country,” Oksana said. “My husband just said to me, ‘You should go because of the kid.

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In June, nine-year-old Oksana and Dasha arrived in Calgary. Since then, they have been living with a foster family.

“I love being here right now. I feel safe,” Oksana said. “It was a difficult six months without my husband and without parents, with poor English. gave so many opportunities to live in a normal space.

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Oksana now has a job as a hairdresser and Dasha is enrolled in a school in southwest Calgary. Oksana said her English has improved significantly since she arrived. She and her daughter are fluent in conversational English and were settling into their new life in Calgary. But it wasn’t until December 6 that the family really felt like they belonged.

That’s when an early Christmas present arrived at the Calgary airport — Oksana’s husband, Max, who had finally gotten a Canadian visa.

However, the joy of the reunion was dampened by the devastation at home in their town of Kryvyi Rih.

On Saturday, emergency crews removed the body of a toddler from a building hit by Russian missiles. Officials said four people were killed in the strike and 13 others were injured.

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Oksana’s parents’ house was not damaged but communication is limited. She said she felt helpless because her parents didn’t want to leave the only home they had ever known.

“I think it’s very scary for them because they don’t speak English and they’ve lived in a house all their life,” Oksana said. “I can’t do anything, it’s their decision.”

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Russia has pounded Ukraine’s power grid with missiles and drones as part of efforts to leave Ukrainian civilians and soldiers in the dark and cold this winter. And now that he is in Canada, Max worries about his sister who lives in Dnipro.

“They have no electricity, water or heating at home. They only have cooking gas,” Max said.

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Max and Oksana said they were grateful for the support provided by their host family in Calgary, but Wayne Leong says he is grateful to be able to help.

“It warms my heart to know that we can help some people,” Leong said. “We are so lucky in the world we live in here. We take freedom in Canada for granted and all those things, so having the opportunity to support someone is heartwarming.

Despite constant worry about the dangers their family faces and their own uncertain future here, the Konoplia family knows the value of being safe and together.

“Finally I’m calm inside,” Oksana said. “Because of our different time zones, I couldn’t sleep normally. I always pick up my phone and often read text messages with Max.

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“Right now, I’m just calm and happy. I can sleep normally.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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