My little friend Yurii - Ukraine 2022
* Yurii is 6 years old, together with his mother, they are joining their dad in Bulgaria, where fortunately for things, he works as a driver.
This morning Yurii saw me from the window behind him, which looks out into the clearing where the cars are waiting to be boarded on the ferry, which crosses the Danube, leads to Romania.
I was standing there outside, when I heard a knock on the glass, it was he who called me and as soon as he turned, he gave me the military salute, putting his small hand on his forehead.
I smiled at him and he ran out to ask me where I had the rifle.
The bulletproof vest and helmet in my hand made me a soldier, a fighter, but kneeling in front of him, to be at his height, I opened my backpack, took my camera and with what little Russian I still have I speak, I explained to him that that little box of iron, plastic and glass is my rifle and that I too shoot, but without killing.
He looks at me and replies "I like your gun better".
I tell him, yes, this gun can be stronger than any weapon and it can help people and children, maybe one day you can use it too.
So from the backpack I take a new roll and give it to him saying “when you are older, you will know how to use it, for now, keep it”.
Yurii puts his new film roll in his pocket and runs back to his mother, inside the structure.
I get up and wait again for the border police to signal us to go to the boat, but I don't have time to look around, as little Yurii runs back and hands me a snack, telling me
"This is for your trip, because you will be hungry ".
I get back on my knees and with tears in my eyes I hold him tight, I can only thank him.
Good light my little friend.
* Yurii is an imaginary name, given to the child, in place of its original to keep it confidential at this time, as requested.