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In the village of Velyka Vilshanka, in the kyiv region, prayers are multiplying these days for a baby whose condition is not yet known. Her mother, Dana, 39, remains hospitalized due to the high risk of abortion in the Vasilkov hospital, fifteen kilometers from her family residence. Her father, Ihor, 47, is the pastor of the local Pentecostal Church. The one on the way is the tenth son. Or daughter. They do not know. “Doctors are surprised that he is still alive,” says the religious optimist about the creature’s endurance in the womb. “We like to have a big family and accept all the blessings that God offers us,” he says in the presence, among others, of the eldest daughter, Nastia, 21, and the youngest, David, three.

But in the midst of uncertainty, this man with huge hands continues to find time to carry out humanitarian work and help those who need it. He has been doing it since the Russian invasion began on February 24. He has volunteered to distribute clothes and food and has even opened the doors of his house to up to 34 people at a time from different refugee families from the east of the country. “When someone got stuck at a roadblock because it was curfew time, they sent him to our house,” he says with a smile. Now his attention is focused on manufacturing by hand, soldering iron in hand, what are known as rocket kitchens. It is a contraption that allows you to cook with very little firewood, that withstands the wind well and that, at the same time, is disassembled to facilitate its portability, something that the military demands, he comments. “The rocket thing comes because it’s what it looks like when it’s turned on,” he adds. It is also retrofitting hot water boilers for heating.

By Luis de Vega (Special envoy)

In the image, Luis de Vega, Ihor, a 47-year-old Protestant pastor, making an artisan kitchen, in the village of Velyka Vilshanka, in the kyiv region.

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