So we should have realised that driving an ambulance to Ukraine would not be like booking a holiday … The sheer number of people that we need to rely on or fit around, issues that need to be addressed and realities that need to be accommodated is eye-opening.
Since our last post we have really struggled to get insurance arranged. The reasons have ranged from “it’s a modified vehicle and we don’t insure them” to “it’s over 20 years old and we don’t insure them” to “no, vans are not covered on your existing policy” to “you’re exporting it and we don’t insure that”. The breadth and creativity of explanations is impressive but none the less frustrating for all that. However, we do now have insurance so that is something. We have also collected the ambulance from Aliya’s home and it’s now parked up the street from us which is exciting!
We had planned the timing and route on the basis that we would be delivering the ambulance in Ukraine to a rather large gentleman from Odesa called Oleksandr. Sadly he is now unable to meet us (it is a long drive each way, getting around Ukraine is very difficult and he has a full time job …) so we are handing it over to Paul – a rather less large gentlemen from Surrey! Paul is actually an aid worker and we’ll tell you more about what he is doing in future posts. The problem is that the only thing that works for Paul is that we hand over the ambulance in Kraków on Tuesday evening before we fly back. That means no crossing of the border into Ukraine for us. Frustrating but sadly there is no other way.
As it turns out, crossing the border (whilst safe) would not have been at all easy. It can frequently take more than six hours to clear the border (checks are very thorough to make sure that what is coming is not for the black market and not pro-Russian / anti-Ukrainian) and it can take four hours to get back from the border to Kraków (and that’s if you book a taxi …). By handing the ambulance over to Paul in Kraków on Tuesday evening we enable Paul to make a start for the border very early on Wednesday morning so that he can be in the queue at 8 a.m. and begin his trip across Ukraine well before curfews come in and driving becomes dangerous.
Meanwhile we have been collecting more and more clothes and other donations to take with us which is absolutely wonderful. We’re also at nearly £6,000 in donations raised thus far which is simply incredible. If you would like to donate please do click on the button below.
Please do let others know what we’re up to. Feel free to share this blog on your social media – and on the subject of social media we’ll be tweeting about our journey from the Twitter account @Med_LL_Ukraine – the tweet about this blog post is below!
There’s loads to do before we leave – Daniel’s off to have the tyres checked (one might have a puncture …) and then we’d like to reload the ambulance to make sure that everything’s well-positioned. People are getting in touch with more things to take so we’ve got to fit in a few more boxes too. Oh yes, and we’ve got to pack our own stuff up for the journey!