Ukrainian refugees update - loooooooong post!

Teletubbie

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Outstanding report on your journey.
I have greatest admiration for you and the other members of the group and the sponsors as well as everybody who helps to make this happen.
Lets hope that the refugees can return to their homes as soon as possible and rebuild their lives.
Graham.
 

KeithDavies 100

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Tuesday morning, so I'm off again!

Thanks for everyone's kind comments above. My wife is currently making me a steak sandwich baguette for later, then I'm on a train to Troels place. Heatwave appears to have passed, and it's cooler here this morning. Weather forecast suggests we'll have storms in Calais when we come out of the tunnel.

Driving today - only my second run - with a woman going on her first. We're going to Bielsko-Biala again, to the fire station, to drop stuff. Last week, they gave us fluorescent wrist bands that they probably give to kids or something, I don't know. Anyway, I've put mine back on this morning for the drive back there.

We're then picking up about 25 refugees in Warsaw and 2 in Poznan, and then heading home. We'll be back some time on Friday.

Wish me luck! See you all Friday.
 

KeithDavies 100

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Hotel in Poland. Exhausted. Slept in 15-30 minute stretches over the last 36 hours. Dropped 6 van loads of much needed aid today so that's good. Need to sleep now. Up in the morning, 90 min drive to Warsaw to pick up about 35 refugees, then the 1000 miles back to the UK. Another 36-hour day. Did something good today and will again tomorrow. Proud of that.
 

Quarter1969

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Great work, buddy!!! Humanity is not lost thanks to people like you and your colleagues. Our nations have a pretty long history of helping each other in tough times, although I'd rather see us all having a pint together then helping out refugees. Sad world, populated with some great people like you, though. Good luck, drive safely!
 

KeithDavies 100

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Great work, buddy!!! Humanity is not lost thanks to people like you and your colleagues. Our nations have a pretty long history of helping each other in tough times, although I'd rather see us all having a pint together then helping out refugees. Sad world, populated with some great people like you, though. Good luck, drive safely!
Thank you. Incredibly beautiful country you have there, by the way! I loved the style of the houses, the countryside, the mountains - really gorgeous place to drive through.
 

KeithDavies 100

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I'll try and do a write-up of this recent trip, the same as I did the last one. I came back absolutely exhausted, and it seems to have taken me a few days to process, decompress. However, here's the end of the trip. Me, 9 other drivers, 5 minibuses, 35 refugees in a new country, one dog, one cat, at Ashford International Railway Station for onward travel to their sponsor families after we'd driven them a thousand miles through five countries:
 

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billy logan

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If you can, maybe donate to ---> Keith's Driving refugees from Ukraine <--- (from an earlier thread of his)

Don't be anxious about giving, your donation goes to International Refugees Trust; the enabling intermediary is JustGiving.com.

fyi August 24, 1991 is Ukraine's 4th of July, 1776

btw when you have linked through Keith's link to JustGiving.com don't panic (like I did) when they specified GBP, British pounds.
Right there you can switch to donate in Euros, or either Australian, Canadian, US dollars.
 
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KeithDavies 100

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You people are doing great work!!!! Do the Russian military try to hinder you from removing the locals or do they not give a damn???

DC
We don't get that close. If I did, I think I'd be more scared of my wife's response than the Russians'!

The Russians are still predominantly over in the east of Ukraine - and, latest reports, perhaps being pushed back slightly. The people we're bringing back come out of Ukraine to the west (north-west-ish perhaps) into Poland. They may have originated from the easy, but they come west to get out of Ukraine. We pick them up in Poland so they're safely out by then.

"Safely" is relative of course - they're in a foreign country, mostly for the first time, mostly without their husbands, mostly don't speak any language other than their own. I'm sure it's incredibly frightening and stressful.

Most of them put on smiles and engage with us, but some don't. Those that don't, it would be easy to think "she's a bit miserable, could show a bit more gratitude", but then you think about what people have been through by this point and, to be honest, the ones managing to smile and be sociable with us through all this are being absolutely heroic.

We brought back a mother and daughter a while ago - not me, but another crew. It was supposed to be mother, daughter and grandmother, but their car was machine-gunned as they were trying to leave and grandma was hit five times. She survived and was hospitalised. We brought mum and daughter to the UK and it's hoped grandma will follow in due course.

There was a woman who spoke decent English, so my first co-driver, Reggie chatted to her on that drive. At one point he said to her, "Do you think you'll go back?" and she just said "To what?" Some of them have seen their entire villages/towns destroyed - everything they ever owned gone, all their local shops, neighbours, schools - everything.

It's unreal.

A few people have said I'm really brave doing this, but I'm really not. I just drive. I'm not fighting, and I'm really not getting anywhere near the danger zones. Would I, to do this? Yes, possibly, if it came to it - but don't tell my wife!! - but that's not what we're dealing with as yet.
 

trev333

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Carry a big bag of chocolate bars to hand out, I'm sure they will be a welcome treat for tired travelers... :)

and for tired drivers.;)

stay safe, mate.... :)
 




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