The morning after our delays at the border

Our Saturday plans took a change when a lone Ukrainian border guard decided to be ever so enthusiastic about both ambulances. Whilst we wholly support the idea of safe borders and thorough border checks it behoves the guard to be efficient.

Between the first “I want to completely inspect the vehicle” and when he finally arrived to inspect the vehicles was some two hours. Removing, opening, and then repacking and reloading 3.5 tonnes of boxes takes a while. Having failed in his quest, he then declared he wanted to undertake the same routine with the second vehicle. However, before that he decided he needed another two-hour break!

Testing times for those who want to undertake a mission of delivering humanitarian aid. More testing also of those waiting in Lviv for our arrival.

Our Arrival Plans

The plan was to arrive in Lviv on Saturday afternoon. A film crew from national TV was there and also the school that donated the artillery shells for our Summer Ball auction.  As morning gave way to afternoon, to late afternoon, to early then late evening; the school decided to bed down for the night locally and the camera crew and interviewer had to come back for another day.

The passenger on our mission was one of the Help4Ukraine team who had an association with the school. Best laid plans can always be altered.

On Sunday morning we set off to meet them all at the rendezvous. Mark duly drove up and down so the camera crew could get some footage. While he was doing that the other driver and team member met the school children and teachers and chatted to the TV interviewer.

After some footage, the scene was set. We drove up to the school children and immediately set about our for-TV greeting. What they had not said was what they had planned. The children sang a beautiful song and then a speech by one of the schoolchildren. After, vyshyvankas were presented to Mark and John. A korovai was presented and kosychka along with two traditional Ukrainian kosiv ceramic mugs and rushnyk.

It fell to John to make a short speech in thanks.

All of the gifts were carefully sat atop a range of beautifully decorated artillery shells. These shells are the remnants of a war going on and are used as therapy for the children. They learn to paint and these are then sold at auction where the money raised is used to fund more schools. Helping the children understand what is going on is important. Helping them see that they too can make a difference has huge significance for them also.

The rest of the morning was taken up with photo opportunities and TV interviews, filming of the one remaining ambulance before fond farewells and the school left with the ambulance. Unlike before, this ambulance was going to the school, there it would then be sent to Bakhmut where some of the children’s parents are fighting. Along with the shells it was important that the children link their efforts with supporting their loved ones and do so in a positive and humanitarian way.

All that remained now was to head to Krakow and a Sunday evening flight home.

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