On November 20, 2022 I traveled to Ukraine with the aim of providing aid to the recently liberated people of Kherson and provisions to conscripts who have been fighting on the front line. Although Ukraine’s armed forces now have much modern weaponry provided by the West, our troops are missing many of the basics like bullet proof vests, helmets, tactical gloves and support.
Conscripts rely on their community for these and my family in Kiev has been supporting the 4th operational brigade. A huge thank you to the amazing residents of Bermuda who donated $11,225 to our cause.
Due to the no fly zone in Ukraine, the only way to enter the country is by road or rail from neighboring countries. I’ve now traveled to Ukraine 3 times since the start of the war and each time have entered via Poland. This time I was supposed to collect and drive a 4x4 in from Warsaw but there was an issue with the vehicle and my brother found an alternative which was already in the Ukraine. I used BlaBlaCar to hitch a ride from Katowice to the Ukrainian border, an 8 hour drive. Due to the lines at the border I opted to cross on foot- in the past when I’d traveled by bus it had taken 2 hours to cross and I’ve heard of folks spending 8+ hours waiting in line. Just like previous occasions there were far more trying to enter Ukraine than leave.
This time the majority of those trying to enter were men in military fatigues, patriots returning to fight for their country. I was struck by how cheerful they were in stark contrast to what we’d seen in the media of rioting Russian conscripts.
This time I was through in 40 minutes, my fastest crossing yet! 35 minutes waiting in line and then a quick passport and bags check and I was in another Blablacar to Lviv where my brother met me and we both took a sleeper train to Kiev. That evening, while on the train we received news that the exchange on 4x4 had happened and so we could drive it down to Kherson right away.
My brother called around to the other volunteers in the neighborhood to bring provisions for us to bring to the newly liberated Kherson. We arrived at 10AM at my parents house and were greeted by the mountains of aid that had been provided. Including more than 500 handmade candles in used tins used for heat and cooking.
We had planned to travel in one car but all of the provisions barely fit in two!
Night train to Kiev