Ukrainian father desperate to bring wife and kids to safety in Nashville

Russian invasion puts local man's family in danger
Posted at 3:00 AM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-05 07:09:12-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Kiarash Hudarzi moved to Nashville in 2021 to prepare a better life for his wife and two children. His dream became a horror when Russia invaded its neighbor.

"I was crazy. I was, you know, I didn't sleep about five days. I was just crying. I couldn't stop. I didn't want them to die like that," he said, tears in his eyes.

Hudarzi moved to Nashville last year, temporarily leaving his wife Anzehla Procham and their two young children, ages six and two, behind. The three stayed with Procham's 67-year-old mother. All was going according to plan until Russia invaded their home country.

With the invasion in full swing, Procham and the children spent six nights sleeping in the underground metro tunnels fearing what was happening above them.

"They went to the subway after seven o'clock evening until seven o'clock in the morning every day," he said, "[The women and children] didn't go out from the subway because they were scared."

Kiarash Hudarzi's wife and children slept in underground metro tunnels with other Ukrainians for six nights as the Russians started invading their homeland.

On March 1, Procham made the impossible decision to leave her mother behind as the opportunity to catch a ride with a friend to the Polish border arose.

"[My mother-in-law] thought ‘I cannot move.’ Because she told [me] ‘this is my life here,’" Hudarzi said.

As Procham and her two children made it to the border, chaos ensued.

"She told me when they moved to the border, my daughter was scared, you know?'" said Hudarzi of his conversation with his wife. "She told what happened. My wife told me even, ‘I can’t imagine I will leave my country like that.’"

Former Ukrainian resident Kiarash Hudarzi video chatted from Nashville with his wife and two children smiling for the first time in days after they crossed the border to Poland to find safety.

For 10 hours texts and calls would not go through between Hudarzi and his wife. He said he sat in Nashville feeling helpless.

"I told [her] ‘I leave. I don't want anything. I just leave to take care of my family.’ You know? My wife she told [me], ‘Don't come back because they will take you here [to fight]. I want to fight but no. I just thinking about my family," Hudarzi said.

When the call from his wife finally came, his family was inside a shelter in Poland. The next day, they found a Polish family online who was willing to take the three of them in while they planned their next steps over video calls.

"In Poland, there is too many people that are out there applying they are waiting for, for refugees for everything. That's why they will go to Germany," Hudarzi said. "Maybe Germany will be less compiled."

Former Ukrainian resident Kiarash Hudarzi video chatted from Nashville with his wife and two children ages six and two who crossed the Ukraine border into Poland while they plan their next steps to reunite in Tennessee.

Hudarzi said the past week is hard to comprehend. "Five, six days, everything's changed. They are bombing everywhere. They don't care."

With tears in his eyes Hudarzi explained the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. "The people, they love each other. You know, for example, they have too many families in Russia. They have too many families, friends, brothers, sisters in Russia, but they hate — they hate — the government. He doesn't want to hear the people, you know. Putin doesn't want to stop."

When asked if his family will ever go back to their homeland, he said he doesn't know what he wants to do.

Kiarash Hudarzi said once the Russian invasion started, every moment was spent trying to help his family make their way out of Ukraine and to the United States.