Sunday May 15th! Everything is prepared: we are 5 volunteers ready to go to Poland and tomorrow we start this beautiful and adventurous journey. We have collected a lot of materials: 2600kg of food, 600kg of medical supplies and 100kg of medicines. We have rented two trucks and studied the route. We will go through Austria and our first stop will be in Brno (Czech Republic).
The day after we plan to arrive in Warsaw, our first stop being the AIR RESCUE ZONE, where there are helicopters leaving every day, delivering medicines to the Ukrainian civil hospitals. Our collaboration with the Lion’s International from Warsaw had helped us find this direct contact. After that delivery we will go to Elk, which is 100 km east of Warsaw, and closer to the Ukrainian border. There we will deliver the food to Caritas and meet up with Don Dario, a really special man who is collecting food and any other necessities to give directly to the hundreds of refugees that arrive daily in Elk. He also organizes private trucks that cross the Ukrainian border, bringing immediate help to Ukrainian refugees still trapped in their own country.
From Elk we will then go to Krakow where our second partner, the U-Work Foundation is waiting for us. The U-Work people have been helping Ukrainian refugees since this conflict began, in 2014, and they really know the situation and what is needed. We will give them half of the food, medicines, and medical supplies which will be sent through their networks to Ukrainian hospitals and Ukrainian refugee families already settled in Krakow.
But things change quickly and in unpredictable ways…. around the afternoon of the 15th I’m not feeling well, and the discomfort is getting worse! I have also received a call from one of our drivers, he isn’t feeling too good and is worried he won’t be able to make it for tomorrow. Fingers crossed, I try to remain calm but after a few hours I decide to test myself for Covid…and, yes, it’s positive! 2 out of the 5 volunteers are sick! We can’t leave tomorrow under these conditions, the trip is too long and too tiring for just 3 people and two big trucks…
We have to change everything concerning our preorganized trip, we have to re-organize every detail, we now have to find couriers that can go to Poland and deliver our offerings…
On Monday the 16th, we immediately ask around for quotations but it isn’t as easy as we thought…one thing is to have our own trucks and drive together but it’s another thing to coordinate different pick-ups in 3 different places in Italy and deliver to 3 different places in Poland. Some of them are near the Ukrainian border and it’s difficult to find couriers that are willing to go there!
It seems impossible! Every time we manage to finalize a section of the journey, a problem arises from another angle…problems like: the loads are too heavy, we need temperature controlled trucks, large trucks are not allowed in downtown Krakow. We have to reschedule again and again, 3,4,5 times…but we persisted, determined to finish what we started and, finally, yesterday the journey began!! Here are pictures of our offerings of food, medicines and medical supplies that have finally been picked up, leaving Italy for Poland.
Medicine and medical supplies will arrive there tomorrow. We rented a special truck, just for these items, to be sure that they will be taken directly and as quickly as possible.
The food supplies will arrive on Saturday or maybe Monday. The drivers have contacted us and they are now at the Austrian border and will be able to cross it tonight.
Stay tuned for the finale in the next few days!
All of this good work would not have been possible without the help of each of you and the help of The Italian Buddhist Union which was so generous in answering our call to action.