“For two weeks I couldn’t eat anything, I was afraid to take food from the children.”


The story of Tatiana from the Ukrainian city Chernihiv. She spent the blockade in a three-room apartment with 12 relatives and 3 pets.

On February 24, my husband and I woke up from the sound of sirens and several explosions. We realized that the war had begun, hugged each other, and then started dressing our children. We moved them to the center of the apartment according to the “two-walls” rule (The “two-walls” rule describes a safe room in a house where you can hide from shots and explosions. There should be at least two walls between a person and the outside: the more walls are better), and started packing our emergency bags. I called my eldest son – he was with a friend – to run home faster. It was a nightmare: panic, stupor, misunderstanding, hatred, and fear.

The first days were relatively quiet, we decided to stay at home. Then the situation began to worsen every day, at night the planes dropped bombs on schools, stadiums, a cinema, a hotel, and other infrastructure objects.

For a month we spent the nights in the basement. The basement is not a bomb shelter, there is sand, pipes, and a bad odor.

Our apartment is on the ground floor, and my parents, my brother with his family, and my godparents live in neighboring apartments on the top floors, so we invited them to our place. As a result, 13 people huddled in a 3-room apartment, including 4 children (4, 5, 5, and 15 years old) and pets: a dog, a cat, a parrot.

Животные в блокированном Чернигове
During the blockade, the animals became friends

My eldest son, somewhere on the 10th day of the war, was able to leave with a friend and his family. But for us deciding to leave became more and more terrible every day. The explosions became louder and louder, and more and more cars with civil women and children were shot. Well, when all the bridges were blown up, the question of our escape from the city disappeared. The city got into a siege.

We accumulated the food supplies of our four families, plus some friends and neighbors who left in the first days of the war, gave us the keys to their apartments, and let us take their food leftovers.

But for the first two weeks, I could not eat anything, I was afraid to take food from the children.

Чернигов: семья Татьяны во время обстрелов прячется в подвале дома
Tatyana’s family is hiding in the basement of the house during the shelling.

Well, when the light, water, heat, and mobile phone reception disappeared, the true “fun” began. It took the whole day to cope with vital needs. Men went to the area of the private houses to collect water from a well to all empty containers, women cooked food, washed dishes in washbasins, etc. The sewer was clogged, and we had to go to the toilet outside. There was a wooden WC in a private house area, about 20 meters away from us, everybody from the surroundings also used it.  Other households had to build toilets in the yards, some from tires, some from doors, from whatever materials were at hand. Complete unsanitary conditions.

We live in the center of the city and were able to buy groceries. Cars would come and sell food leftover. But to buy, you had to stand in line under the sounds of shelling. Then the bread arrived, white, warm. I was on keto until February 24th. Then I couldn’t eat for 2 weeks. And when I saw this bread, I immediately remembered the stories of grandmothers who went through World War II, I felt the same. We ordered home delivery of a big amount of bread and then shared it with neighboring pensioners: without any packaging in large bags, we touched the BREAD with our hands and rejoiced.

But all these are daily problems, little nothings of life. You quickly get used to everything. Except for the explosions and shots. Never again do I want to hear any loud sounds, including fireworks.

We were very lucky to survive. Unfortunately, many people in Chernihiv weren’t. The administration voices about a thousand people dead. But not all the rubble has yet been dismantled. About 70% of the housing stock has been damaged, the outskirts of the city are completely destroyed, and the nearby villages too.

Only two and a half weeks have passed since it became quiet in our city, but the brain refuses to remember everything, and sometimes it seems that wasn’t real. It’s hard to realize, thoughts are confused.

The worst thing is that the war is not over yet.

Who we are. The Rebels Diet is a coaching and educational platform about healthy living and nutrition. We are coaches and journalist from Ukraine (that’s why sometimes our texts sound not native, but we are working on it). Our mission is to help people – to help you to lose weight, to help our team to get back to work (we lost it because of the war), and to help the people of Ukraine to win and rebuild our beautiful country. Try us. We are cool!

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