A veritable pile of relief goods is in our warehouse at the beginning of January. Generators, wheelchairs, medical supplies, candles, batteries. Also two large boxes of warm sweaters donated by our store customers. Two hours of Tetris, then everything is somehow in our big van and we can set off – to Odesa. With us: Hermine, Vitalij, Amrei and Thomas.
Vitalij is driving most of the time. He was able to visit his family over the holidays and saw his newborn son for the first time, after five months. His family is safe, but he drives back into the unknown and into danger. We cannot read his thoughts, only imagine them.
In the late evening of the second day we reach the border with Moldova. Unfortunately, our whole bunch of paper is not enough. Without Vitalij’s negotiating skills we would probably still be hanging around there today. However, after four hours we continue our journey and reach Chisinau at half past three in the morning.
There we pick up a colleague and make our way to Palanca to the border crossing. Our Sprinter is almost as much on the ropes as we are when we are stopped again. Ukraine has a new declaration form. So we spend hours filling out paperwork and digging out boxes until everything fits shortly after 10 o’clock in the evening. Then there is very little time left to reach Odesa in time before curfew.
And we make it. We arrive in the city where we are trying to be of help. The city is in darkness.
Unpacking will take place later. And tackled in any case.