Natasha’s story cannot be separated from the stories of her clients who in Italy are mostly women, caretakers and cleaners. For them migration is a series of impossible emotional, financial and bureaucratic hurdles. Natasha often sings and laughs, but says it’s an impossible balancing act, it’s hard to emigrate, hard to work as a migrant, and dying as a migrant is just as hard.
The 2022 war in Ukraine disrupted this balance for all these women in thousands of different ways.
As the war breaks out Natasha is sick-worried and unable to reach her disabled father stranded in the occupied territory. They now spend their days collecting and sending donations, and helping others to move their families, arrive and settle in Italy. They also helped Sergei’s daughter (23) and ex wife flee from Kyiv, and now they all share their flat in Milan. The undertaking jobs are getting scarce and Natasha takes odd cleaning jobs to provide for the whole family.
The war also spills into every repatriation job they now take. Each case is more personal and more difficult, catalysing ever more questions about the final place of rest as the ultimate home in times when it is torn by war and changed forever.