At Calais and ready
THE WHIRLWIND TOUR THAT WAS TRIP 4 – TO PRZEMYSL AND BACK IN 56 HOURS!!
Having filled 2 minibuses with aid from the AUGB (Association Ukrainians in GB) destined for the Ukrainian Education Platform distribution hub in Przemsyl and a third bus with supplies for a hospital in Lviv which we delivered to a warehouse in Mlyny we set off bright and early (6:30 am) on the 26th April.
After 24 hrs of solid driving to get to our drop off points, we quickly unloaded the vans and got into our hotel pronto for a few (3!!) precious hours kip before we were back on our feet and off again. It was a tiring trip – six countries out, six countries back and over 14,000 kms driven in 56 hours – but an immensely satisfying one.
It was a privilege to be able to give even a little assistance to those whose lives have been devastated by the sad events in their home country. It was heart-breaking to see how little they had with them, often just a small backpack and their pets, having left everything else at home including their menfolk and the rest of their families and loved ones.
It all needs boxing!
This was only made possible by the support and generosity of so many including that of both Abingdon and Headington schools who again lent us their minibuses and Anna who stepped in to hire a third minibus for the trip. We also need to thank each and every one who contributed their time and efforts collecting and packing aid. It would simply not have been possible without you – many, many thanks!
A special thank you has to go to our superhuman, Olga, who tirelessly coordinates and arranges all of our Ukrainian passengers. She finds people looking for lifts to the UK, she checks they all have the correct documentation and the critically arranges for them to be a convenient meeting points along our route (this week we took the Southern route back and stopped off in Krakow, Katovice and Leipzig) and then also arranges pickups for them all by their hosts back in the UK at strategic points around the M25 … or for onward travel by rail to all corners of the country. This week we are delighted to say that we brought back 21 displaced people heading for Rugby, London, Burton & Winchester amongst others (and bizarrely a disassembled girl bicycle, a whole other story!). Nothing is beyond her powers of organisational capability … not least the ever changing and very fluid timetable. She is simply awesome!
Having only returned from the first trip on the previous Thursday, much work over just a few days went into organising transportation and drivers (there was no shortage of volunteers) and the sourcing and packing of appropriate aid, be that medicines or other medical supplies, hygiene products, nappies, foodstuffs or whatever. Whilst Troels was dynamic in pursuing all possible leads, no matter how remote, and very persuasive – there is obviously no Danish equivalents to the words “no” or “not possible” – the fact that a second aid run could be organised in a matter of days is great testament to the generosity of the people of Oxford and beyond. Thank you again.
And lastly a massive thanks to a great team this week Paddy Magee, Mark Ryhorski (again!), Nigel Marks, Patrick Jones, George Collins and Troels Henriksen.