On the day Vladimir Putin ordered his soldiers into Ukraine, Arina had planned a dance class after work and then a party. Three days later, the English teacher was making Molotov cocktails in a park.
I found her crouching on the grass with dozens of other women, grating polystyrene chunks as if they were cheese and ripping sheets into rags for homemade bottle-bombs.
Such scenes are unimaginable to most in Europe. They were unthinkable here too, once.
But Dnipro is now preparing to defend itself against advancing Russian troops.
‘No-one thought this is how we’d spend our weekend, but it seems like the only important thing to do now,’ Arina told me, the young teacher’s face and hair sprinkled in white dust from the polystyrene.
‘It’s pretty terrifying. I think we don’t really realise what it is we’re doing; we just need to be doing something,’ she said.
A few metres away, Elena and Yulia told me they’d left their children with grandparents in order to come and help make these weapons.
‘Sitting home doing nothing would be even scarier,’ Elena said, not pausing her grating even for a second.
She laughs and says that she’s a good cook, and this process is not so different.
‘I can’t believe this is happening to us, but what choice do we have? No-one consulted us on anything,’ Elena said.