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Trip with 2 busses, 4 to 8 of January 2024

With our bellies still full of oliebollen from a few days prior, we departed on January 3rd with two vans headed towards Friesland, the first stop of our journey, to pick up the supplies. While loading the vans, Otto briefed us on the latest developments at the front and which items were most urgently needed. After cramming the vans as full as possible, our journey towards the Polish-Ukrainian border could begin.

The second stop was in a small village near Krakow. Here, we unloaded the supplies and enjoyed a delicious traditional Polish lunch at the local café. The following day, we arrived in Przemysl and, as usual, paid a visit to 'The Hope Shelter'. Jay, the American running the shelter, told us about his plans to start another shelter just across the border in Ukraine. It's incredibly remarkable and hopeful to see that there is still thought being put into how to help as many Ukrainians as possible and as effectively as possible.

The next morning, the day started early as we prepared for the journey back to the NL. The Ukrainians we were bringing along were cheerful but also a bit nervous. It was a group with many children, a few elderly individuals, and a small dog. The atmosphere was cheerful, with plenty of chatter and Ukrainian songs proving to be a hit even with us. Despite appearing resigned and calm, all of these people came from the East of Ukraine, where fighting still persists everyday.

Upon arrival at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, where the national shelter for Ukrainians is located, it was time to say our goodbyes, a moment that often proves more emotional than initially expected. An elderly Ukrainian woman spoke kind words to us and wished us luck and good health, while another lady added a wish for 'a man with lots of money.'

It was a beautiful experience, and incredibly gratifying to see that the help from Keep Them Warm is still so highly valued.

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