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Their lives upended by war, Ukrainian family in Hawaii searches for a new normal

Ukrainian families who fled from the war are trying to settle into new lives, including here on the islands. The Kolosov family found a home on Big Island.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 4:19 PM HST|Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 5:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ukrainian families who fled from the war are trying to settle into new lives, including here on the islands.

The Kolosov family found a home on Big Island.

Maksym and Karina Kolosov arrived two weeks ago with their 12-year-old daughter, Lina. They had their wedding day In February, just two days before they got word of war in their country.

“Karina wakes up our daughter Lina and says to Lina, ‘wake up, because war started,’” said Maksym Kolosov.

They fled their city of Sloviansk in Ukraine.

And after traveling to different countries, they arrived in Hawaii.

Luckily, they had a friend on the Big Island, Alla Kostenko.

They met during Kostenko’s mission trip to Russia and Ukraine. Kostenko has family in those countries.

“We’ve been having a really hard time from the very beginning, just kind of believing that this is actually happening, that this is going on,” Kostenko said.

She runs a coffee farm in Pahala and a neighbor gave them temporary housing in an apartment. She helps the family with language barriers.

“Right now they’re looking to make sense out of this,” said Kostenko, as she translated what Karina Kolosov had to say. “I hope when I have peace in my heart, I could go back to Feb. 22, on my wedding day, and live through those happy moments. The way they deserved to live.”

They worry about what could happen to Sloviansk.

The mayor of the city said Russian missiles recently struck the area, according to CNN.

“What’s our next step? What we can do?” asked Maksym Kolosov. “We have a lot of plans and dreams in Ukraine.”

But they’ve also found a home here. Their 12-year-old daughter started school this week.

“I got some emails from the teacher saying that they’re worried about so much positive attention going towards her because everyone was just like leaning towards and supporting and talking to her,” said Kostenko.

She said she wants to help them get jobs with the coffee farm and local schools, but they’re just waiting on the paperwork.

In the meantime, she has set up a GoFundMe for the family.

“They just wanted to say again and maybe repeat themselves or how grateful they are for being here,” said Kostenko, as she translated for Karina Kolosov.

“They say they walk down the street and if somebody hears them they ask what language they speak. And they say that it’s Ukrainian. And they see how genuinely people are concerned and how well they wish them.”

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