Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko told the website 0629 how ordinary residents of Mariupol, wearing masks and gloves, help treat coronavirus patients. At the moment his elder adopted sons and parishioners of the Church of Good Changes come with him to the cite hospital No9. Among the volunteers there are those who have already had mild cases of coronavirus.
How did the idea of being volunteers come about?
On Sunday one of the doctors called me and said that he needed help. He said that the nurses were very tired, that there is a lot of work – but there are few hands and many sick people. Since the appeal was on Sunday, I was in church and immediately announced this request. Those interested were found, and on Monday we set off, as they say, “to investigate the case directly.”
How many days have you been working as a volunteer in Covid wards?
It is the fourth day. The doctors are grateful to us, and we ourselves are glad that we can help with something. On the first day we were 5 of us, the second day – also 5, today there were 6 and people have already signed up for tomorrow.
What tasks do you perform there?
On the first day, we cleaned the floors in the department. I came and said: “My hands are in your disposal. How can I help?” I haven’t washed the floors since my military service and showed a master class in the hospital. We also deal with the transportation of patients from department to department. There are overweight elderly people and nurses find it difficult even to get them out of bed. We are also preparing another department for Covid patients. We take out children’s beds and put adult beds in those places. Something needs to be taken to another place, something goes to trash. We also transfer their archive to the new place. We do what theyask us to do.
Are you provided with protective equipment?
Yes of course. When we are in direct contact with patients, we wear masks, gloves and gowns.
Are you scared?
Yes, of course, but doctors who directly fight the epidemic are the same people of flesh and blood and they get sick like everyone else. We don’t differ from them. We also want to help.
What is the mood of the patients?
If this is a severe form, then you can see fear in the eyes. But my job is also to cheer people up. I talk to them and comfort them. For instance. I enter and say: “Do not be afraid and do not succumb to sorrows and diseases!” People are getting better. For example, we met an elderly lady in a very tough condition but after conversations she smiled for the first time in two weeks. Little things like that are also very important. I’m not a pastor in the hospital. I take off all my priestly vestments and am just a volunteer, but I also do pastoral and spiritual work there. And at home we pray for all these sick people.