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A fellow expat helps Ukrainian refugees resettle in Maine with free housing. : NPR

A fellow expat helps Ukrainian refugees resettle in Maine with free housing. : NPR

Petro and Halyna Terzi in their new apartment in Auburn, Maine. The Terzis fled Ukraine in the early days of the war and lived with a family in Poland while they waited for their tourist visas.

This Pratt-Kielley / Maine Public

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This Pratt-Kielley / Maine Public


Petro and Halyna Terzi in their new apartment in Auburn, Maine. The Terzis fled Ukraine in the early days of the war and lived with a family in Poland while they waited for their tourist visas.

This Pratt-Kielley / Maine Public

AUBURN, Maine – On a warm spring afternoon, Halyna and Petro Terzi walked into their new apartment in Auburn, Maine for the first time. A small group of fellow Ukrainians was there to greet them.

Carrying blue and yellow balloons and a plastic-wrapped bouquet of flowers, the couple entered their sunny bedroom overlooking the backyard. They will share this apartment with another Ukrainian family who arrived several weeks ago.

With a tired smile on his face, Petro sat down in a soft armchair beside the bed and let out a deep sigh. Her daughter, Alina Terzi, who has lived in Maine for several years, left some luggage from her parents.

“They’re so happy they’re like, ‘Praise the Lord that we are – we’re here,’” she said, translating her father’s comments into Russian.

The Terzis are from Odessa. They fled their home in late February, several days after the Russian invasion. They went first to Moldova, then to Poland. There, volunteers from the Seventh-day Adventist Church connected them with a family in Warsaw, who hosted them while the couple waited for the US embassy to process their visa applications.

Halyna Terzi, from left, with her husband Petro and daughter Alina, having lunch shortly after Halyna and Petro arrived in Maine.

This Pratt-Kielley / Maine Public

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This Pratt-Kielley / Maine Public


Halyna Terzi, from left, with her husband Petro and daughter Alina, having lunch shortly after Halyna and Petro arrived in Maine.

This Pratt-Kielley / Maine Public

The Terzis eventually got tourist visas, which allow them to stay in the United States for six months. But they plan to try to stay longer – either by applying for asylum or seeking family reunification with daughter Alina.

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