One afternoon, I was having a casual lunch date with my wife, and I happened to see people raising awareness for the Ukrainian refugees, collecting donations and supplies for the victims of the war. Out of compassion and humanity, I was so drawn to them. I asked how I can offer my help and support to the Ukrainian refugees, and they said they’d appreciate being assisted with the transportation of the donations to the victims of the Russian-Ukraine war. Randomly so, I found myself planning and packing to leave for the Ukrainian border.
I was to embark on the journey in my camper van from Burgos, Spain to the Ukrainian border in support of Ukraine, to drop off humanitarian goods to the victims of the war, with the hope of also bringing back some refugees. I barely slept the night before, I was quite nervous, but also impatient to start the trip knowing just how much it will make a difference in some of the victims’ lives. On the 9th of March 2022, at 07:30 AM, I was saying goodbye to my family, getting ready to start my journey of over 2 800km.
Details of My Journey to the Ukraine Border
After driving for a while and completing the first part of my journey, I found myself nervous at the thought of this huge bold step I had decided to take. However, I received so much support from my friends, family, and colleagues. They called me, sent me messages and emails along the way, cheering on me and making the journey all worthwhile. It was at this moment that I realised I wasn’t doing this alone, they were also the driving force that was making me emotionally strong. Together, we can surely go far and make a difference as the human race.
There were also two additional camper vans filled with humanitarian aid and donations that were joining me on this trip, coming from Madrid, Spain. On the second day of my trip, it was reported that there were also dozens of cars, vans, and buses that were also led by the same humanity and compassion, driving from all over Spain, with all roads leading to the Ukrainian border. This made me more than proud to be human, seeing different people coming together to offer help and support to Ukraine.
I stopped to pour gas and for the first time in a very long time, the price of gas didn’t hurt to pay. I was more than happy this time around, knowing it’s all for a good cause. Another great thing that happened was I also bumped into the Consul of Poland in Spain – Enrique de Villamor y Soraluce, by chance at the same gas station. He was coming from Burgos and going to Poland with his family for about a month, to coordinate Spanish aid (chartered planes, etc). Great time it was, it was such an awesome coincidence!
The two vans that were driving behind me eventually caught up with me in Bordeaux. I was very pleased to see that they had brought along some Ukrainian flags, which I had searched for in Burgos before I took off for my trip, but couldn’t find. Sticking the Ukrainian flag behind our vans was the highlight of the moment for me as these flags served as a reminder of the importance of this trip and our shared commitment to peace for Ukraine.
Arrival in Paris, France
I made it to the outskirts of Paris on my second day. I was welcomed warmly by my friends Ludovic, Matthieu, and Alicia. Hearing the noise of my friends’ kids running around, and playing was like music to my ears; I had been apart from his kids for two days now. Ludovic LEMOINE drove for over an hour to come to meet me, so he can give me more donations coming from him and his colleagues at Cosmopolitan Services Unlimited (CSU). The Global Mobility Sector was also supporting this cause. I was so happy and proud of being surrounded by all this support towards helping Ukraine refugees; we rise by lifting others.
I received some amazing drawings from my friends’ children showing their support for the Ukraine refugees. I stuck them on my campervan’s window in solidarity with Ukraine and proceeded with my journey. This made me realise – you know who’s going to build that better world? It’s the children and the youth of today, with no doubt!
More Humanitarian Donations for Ukraine Refugees
I proceeded with my journey, and when I got to Germany I was hosted by my friends Remco Rehberg and Sophie Rehberg from Professional Organising Relocation Consult GmbH. They treated me with so much kindness and I also received more boxes there filled with donations for the Ukraine war victims.
I finally met up with the other two camper vans at an old campsite along the way. This time around, we had a more serious conversation about our trip, as we were about to arrive at the Ukraine refugee camp. We planned to fetch and store a lot of water, it seemed there was a lack of water at the border, and then proceed with the journey, with about two hours left to reach the border.
We arrived at the border on day 4, and delivered our batch of donations at one of the campsites. What they liked most was the medicine. However, the situation there was quite sad. You smile as a person because that’s what you have to do to encourage the refugees, but deep inside I was so torn by all of this. On a brighter note, we also managed to get a total of 11 Ukrainian refugees that we were going to be travelling with back to Madrid. A huge thank you to all of you who have made all of this possible through your donations, support, and cheering us on. You touched and changed a life indeed.
The Drive Back to Spain
Our way back was filled with so many delays and check-in hassles at hotels but eventually, everything worked out in the end. On day 8 of my trip to and from the Ukrainian border, we finally booked into a house this time, we didn’t want any more of the hotel check-in issues. The place we got was perfect, just what we all needed from the long journey we had been on. There were no check-in hassles and the best part is we all managed to dine together at a table, as one big family. This was my last night with the refugees. When we arrived in Pamplona the following day, everyone else was stayed behind as I proceeded with the journey alone, towards Burgos.
The photo above was taken in Irún, where the 3 camper vans separated. There were lots of emotions and lots of tears. Anastasia, one of the Ukraine refugees we travelled with wrote Antonio, Alberto and I a thank you letter which was very much heartfelt (translated on Google translator) and it reads:
To Antonio, Inigo, Alberto
~by Anastasia Yanina Dasha and Denis
“I want to say thank you very much! I’ve never met such wonderful people, you’re like from the movie “Fantastic Four”, only even cooler, with God being the fourth person of the team. 🙏🏼Thank you for choosing us to become your travel companions, thank you for helping us and everyone else to reach our families, thank you for surrounding us with your love, being with us and treating us with so much care and understanding. . I want to wish you, and your families great health, a peaceful sky above your heads, and that you may always be well 👌I hope that after a while I will see you again, or we will meet by chance and I will still be repeating this message again to you, but this time in Spanish instead of using Google translate😂
Our parents who stayed in Ukraine are on their knees before God, thanking Him for everything you did for us. They pray good health over you and they cannot thank you enough. They still have tears of joy running down their cheeks, knowing we are safe and that its all because of the three of you. 🙏🏼 If one day the war ends in Ukraine, and we return to our parents and families, we will build the most beautiful Ukraine and we will definitely expect you to visit it, like the natives 👨👩👧👦 🙏🏼 We love you, we will always do and again – thank you for everything and for the fact that we met by chance, thank you for allowing God to use you to save us.❤️🙏🏼
You will Forever be in our hearts
Our very own superheroes🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼
Antonio, Inigo Lopez and Alberto”
I would like to extend my gratitude to my family, the publications that wrote about my trip, my friends, customers, partners, and unknown people who supported me during this trip. This is not the end, there are many more things we can still do, for the families that we brought, for their families that are still in Ukraine, and for the millions of people trying to escape from the war. In solidarity with Ukraine, BiCortex Languages and BiCortex Translations are offering free services to help Ukrainian refugees. We do not doubt that our commitment to helping the victims of the war will support many people and organisations.
By Inigo Lopez, BiCortex Languages CEO.