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tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
6/15/22 11:12 a.m.
VikkiDp said:

Tonight i understood that I'm afraid of thunder now

In the night i woke up and can't understand what's happened - attacks again or what

The sirens sounded twice  in the night and there were hits near the city

I don't understand how people live much time in "hot" points - you can just go crazy with fear crying

We pray for your safety every day, Vikki. I'll add peace and quite to the list!

 

Bill, same to you. Thanks for all that you do!

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/16/22 1:51 p.m.
VikkiDp said:

Tonight i understood that I'm afraid of thunder now

In the night i woke up and can't understand what's happened - attacks again or what

The sirens sounded twice  in the night and there were hits near the city

I don't understand how people live much time in "hot" points - you can just go crazy with fear crying

Vikki.  To us, you ARE in the hot point.  I'm sorry your going though this.  Hopefully it's all over soon.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/16/22 1:57 p.m.

Here goes guys.  It's been a busy week but we got everything inventoried and packed, then we received 4-more boxes, and got everything re-inventoried and re-packed, and then we got MORE stuff (this is a good problem to have)

Here's how we're looking:

 

The stage is set (and I may or may not have tied blue and yellow ribbons to the antennas) laugh

 

Also, is it just me or does it look like Mrs. Hungary's car needs a GRM sticker...

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/16/22 1:59 p.m.

Obligatory unsolicitied duck pic:

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue HalfDork
6/16/22 2:00 p.m.
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) said:

Also, is it just me or does it look like Mrs. Hungary's car needs a GRM sticker...

Yes, it does. And check your tire pressure. 

 

84FSP
84FSP UberDork
6/16/22 2:07 p.m.

Boom!  Now that looks like a proper aid convoy!

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/16/22 2:41 p.m.
DarkMonohue said:
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) said:

Also, is it just me or does it look like Mrs. Hungary's car needs a GRM sticker...

Yes, it does. And check your tire pressure. 

 

100% on it before we spin a single tire in anger.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/16/22 2:45 p.m.
84FSP said:

Boom!  Now that looks like a proper aid convoy!

I may or may not have installed a CB in Mrs. Hungary's car.  I 100% plan on givin my best impression of "Snowman" a shot this whole trip.

84FSP
84FSP UberDork
6/16/22 4:39 p.m.

VikkiDp
VikkiDp New Reader
6/17/22 6:22 a.m.

Thanks Brian smiley Thanks Bill smiley and thanks everyone who helps us smiley

Bill, i hope too and pray for that 

When i think how many people have suffered, their houses, our ground and fields...  i'm crying, too much hurt... crying

VikkiDp
VikkiDp New Reader
6/17/22 6:28 a.m.
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) said:

Here goes guys.  It's been a busy week but we got everything inventoried and packed, then we received 4-more boxes, and got everything re-inventoried and re-packed, and then we got MORE stuff (this is a good problem to have)

Here's how we're looking:

 

Looks very good!!!

crossed my fingers

Write me if you need my help and if i can help you

Good luck you and Sarahheart

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/17/22 11:05 p.m.

Mrs Hungary's wagon needs to be imported to US so I can buy it from you!

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/18/22 10:00 p.m.

Success!

 

It's 5am and we're punchin west and lettin' the sun chase us!  

Cheers everyone!

 

VikkiDp
VikkiDp New Reader
6/20/22 1:53 p.m.

The packages from Jeff(Woody) have gotten yes

I'm going to call the fire dept tomorrow to give it all to them

VikkiDp
VikkiDp New Reader
6/20/22 2:01 p.m.

There were hits at the refinery at the weekend - it's very near the city

There was a very BIG fire sad

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/20/22 3:04 p.m.
VikkiDp said:

There were hits at the refinery at the weekend - it's very near the city

There was a very BIG fire sad

Stay safe Vikki.  Hopefully this will be over soon crying

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/20/22 3:12 p.m.

Guys, I've got a big update from the weekend run but it's going to take me a day or two to put together.  For now, here's the updated balance sheet:

 

The eagle eyed among you will notice two things:

 

1) we are over the predicted 400,000 mark as of this week but it was not due to the money in the envelope, and instead is nearly 100% from donations received late last week and from over the weekend.  Paypal is almost 0% letting me send messages to the donors anymore but thank you guys, and I am getting the money you're sending.

Back to that envelope that had the cash in it.  It did have about 100,000 left over, but there was one spot left in the truck and I just couldn't let it go unfilled.  Here's what happened in pictures:

 

Sorry.  Blame my OCD, but when there was that little space to fill and when we had the money to fill it...  In all, I spent about 67,000 and then added the remaining amount (33,000) to the Kisgorbo balance.

Anyhoo, the second thing you'll notice is the "delivered" count for stuffies has gone up by 1, and the balance of remaining stuffies has gone down by the same amount.  That will be covered in the update wink

In other news, I've reached out to Ira (our Urkainian friend who is doing the art therapy in Budapest) to see if she needs anything (we still have 50,000 set aside from her), and I may also reach out to the student shelter to see what their situation is going to be for the summer.

Cheers guys, and thank you!

VikkiDp
VikkiDp New Reader
6/21/22 10:26 a.m.

The mission has done!!! yes

Guys are so glad and thankful smiley

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/27/22 2:07 a.m.

Sorry guys, not your typical Monday update.  I spent the last week getting ready to be out of town this week.  I'll have one day (Monday) next week to get ready to be out of town again for the three weeks that follow.  Needless to say, it's a busy time of year at the Hungary house.

Only this week though, will I not have my usual resources to do any proper posting.  I still owe you guys the trip report, and I also need to lay out the plans for August's run.  For now though I'll leave you guys with this little gem.  24 hours after it was dropped off in Lviv, our supplies arrived to our volunteer medics in Kyiv:

 

 

I still have their address and they do report that they would gladly accept any gear anyone wanted to send their way (plateholders without plates, socks, or otherwise) but I've elected not to start a direct fundraiser due to the high costs, and the upcoming run to Dnipro.  We do not yet know when they'll deploy or where they'll be sent.

Cheers guys  and sorry for the (temporarily) hectic work schedule. 

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage Dork
6/27/22 8:22 p.m.

Please get me that address and I will do my best to get everything I can to them. Plate carriers, kneepads, Hydration bladders. Anything I can legally send I will.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/4/22 8:05 a.m.
AClockworkGarage said:

Please get me that address and I will do my best to get everything I can to them. Plate carriers, kneepads, Hydration bladders. Anything I can legally send I will.

Done and done sir, check your messenger.

Thank you!

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/4/22 8:22 a.m.

As promised guys, here's your Monday update:

 

 

Key takeaways:

June's funds have been transferred to Kisgorbo.  We were 70,000 shy of our 500,000 goal last month, but as that is 100% the exact amount I spent on canned food and water to complete our Lviv trip, I felt personally responsible for the shortcoming and funded the remaining amount from my account.  We currently have 180k in July's funds and that transfer is scheduled to happen on the 25th.

Ira's Art therapy is funded and operational.  The woman is a wiz when it comes to frugality and is still working from our last donation.  50k remains to transfer as soon as she needs (and she knows to let us know).  I do have pictures from her to share.

We are currently gathering donations for student supplies for Refugees in Dnipro Ukraine, and for medical supplies for Dnipro's Children's hospital.  These have been arranged through VikkiDp, and are set to be sent mid-august.  I will make a more detailed post about what we are specifically wanting to do, and what it means for people in the area separate from this update post.  However, two points of good news on this one.  The first is I've received $1000usd from a family member (330,000huf) and am attempting to use my connections to purchase a portable EKG machine at wholesale cost as it was HUGELY sought after by all who saw it on our last run.  The other is I may have found a pallet of medical supplies in the Czech republic that do not yet have a destination.  I'm crossing my fingers and working towards getting a firm commitment from the person in possession.  Hopefully we can pick this up, as 100% of our heaviest hitters in Papa have ended their local contracts and returned to their home countries (bad timing really).

The last is that we are only going to have just one more delivery to Pastor David Kovacs.  He wasn't able to move 100% of our last delivery as the majority of the refugees in Budapest have transitioned home or elsewhere (which aligns with what is being reported from Kisgorbo).  I've informed him of the delivery, and we agreed that he will deliver what he can and redirect the rest to any local underprivileged/in need.

I still owe you guys a trip report, from the last Lviv run and I still intend to deliver.  Yesterday we got back from a week in Denmark, and tomorrow I drive 12-hours to Germany for work.  I've been chipping away at it though and should have something readable soon.

In addition to our coordination with regards to the delivery in Dnipro, VikkiDp reported terror strike hits very near her neighborhood last Tuesday.  A car service station was hit along with two other local locations.  People were hurt, but she was not.  VikkiDp herself mentioned she was planning on taking a quick trip further west to get some rest and to hopefully unwind a bit.  Please keep her in your thoughts.

Happy 4th everyone.

84FSP
84FSP UberDork
7/4/22 11:56 a.m.

Thanks for your good work sir.  Have a happy 4th with the Hungary crew.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/5/22 1:34 p.m.
84FSP said:

Thanks for your good work sir.  Have a happy 4th with the Hungary crew.

Thank you, sir.  You too, and will do.

 

Ira sent me three batches of photos from her work in Budapest (each from a different week).  Here's a photo dump from just one of them (I intentionally tried to pick photos that were "vague" with regards to the children's identities.  She sent videos too, and I might be able to share some of them when I'm off my mobile and back on my computer).

 

Just one more for you guys.  I didn't ask, but I don't think Ira would mind:

 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/6/22 1:19 p.m.



 

 

So we’ve done this before so there shouldn’t be much to write about, right?

(spoiler alert, this is going to be a long post.  I might even have to break it up into chunks)

Part 1:

Just like last time, the week leading up to the delivery is absolutely the most frantic.  People are trying to drop things off last minute, you’re trying to keep the inventory updated (not only for customs, but for the people receiving it so they know how and where they’re going to move it), boxes get packed, rearranged, and then re-packed, and of course the delivery addresses aren’t given out until the very last minute and only then with the approval from the authorities that be (These locations we frequent to do this, are PRIME targets for Russian terror strikes).  But once we get it all in and done, we figure that was going to be the hard part. 

We were kinda wrong about that.

The first hiccup hit when we got to the border.  Again, the line of cars leading into Ukraine was KILOMETERS long!  I think I saw the wait time officially listed as 8-hours on the border website.  Due to our cargo, both of our vehicles were allowed to track left and bypass the line.  Unfortunately, once we got to the front we were side-stepped into the commercial line and things took a while to do from there.  Apparently there was an update to the entry application and it was looking like we were going to have to re-do our inventories right there at the border by hand (we had 4 different inventories.  All multiple typed pages long.  All for different recipients).  I’m listening to the guy in front of me go through the process and he’s 100% American (although I didn’t catch the organization he was with).  We do our best to pay attention and to get our stuff in order so we don’t have the same issues.  We had… “some” luck with that.

Luckily, we got a border agent who was obviously tired of such things, but still very helpful. Unfortunately, he didn’t like that one vehicle had four destinations so he asked us for a phone number he could call to verify that we were actually going to one of the places where we said we were going.   I let him use my phone to call RAZOM, and Ukrainian words were exchanged.  The outcome was favorable and in the end he simply asked “ok.  No inventory.  How many kilos of supplies do you have”

Kilos?  Crap, it’s been 8 hours of non-stop driving.  I’m over-caffeinated, I’ve got a headache, and now I’m on the spot.  My brain frantically searches for a number.  I know kilos, I prefer kilos, I even know my weight in kilos (75).  “Seventy five!” I say excitedly.

We both look at each other and realize how dumb 75-kilos sounds when you’re looking at a truck squatting on its axles…  I might as well have said “purple” for how accurate it was.

“You only have 75 kilos of supplies in your truck?” he asks.

I don’t have the words to say “yeah, I’m an idiot….” and instead he just ads a “1” in front of the number 75 and we are both on our way.  Here’s to understanding border agents (raises beer glass for a toast).

That was the eventful happening for the first day.  We checked the first fuel station for sim cards, but we didn’t find any.  We did however, see some more American legionnaires that were heading west but didn’t stay to chat with them.  I saw one that looked like he had an IFAK strapped to his leg, and I briefly pondered offering to kit him out with goodies but decided to keep things going to where they were.

We exchanged some of our Euros for Hryvnia at a local exchange (the rate wasn’t terrible), and got on to the road and RIGHT into oncoming traffic…

 



See, the road here is one lane in each direction.  There are semi-trucks parked in the oncoming lane as far as you can see, and to get around them people are driving in our lane and coming RIGHT at us.  I actually thought the first guy was just being a jerk, so I squeezed him pretty tight between me and one of the big trucks.  Once I got a better picture though, I realized that was just how traffic HAD to move or it wouldn’t move at all.  So that’s how we spent the last bit of our drive.  Dodging oncoming traffic in the right lane, and watching truckers make the best out of their stay on the side of the Ukrainian highway (I saw one guy making soup on a cook stove!  Right next to his diesel tank :P).




 

Lots has changed though since April.  The military presence was still there but the posture was way more casual and Vikki was right about the gas shortages.  I’d say that one out of every five fuel stations we passed actually had some sort of fuel.  And the ones that did had lines that stretched out into the already cramped road!  Luckily for us, we were warned and the fuel can in the back of the truck meant we didn’t have to sweat the situation one bit (a huge HUGE relief, so thank you Vikki!).

One of my favorite things about this drive though, was seeing the Ukrainian churches in the light of the sunset.  I don’t know how else to describe them, but the outline of Ukrainian churches GLOW in the evening light.  It is absolutely AMAZING to see (and this next picture absolutely does not do it justice).

 



 

Anyhoo we know where we’re staying tonight so we head out that way (same place as last time).  I don’t get the Spanish speaking worker, but instead a young guy that speaks JUST enough english to be able to help us out.  We get checked in and wouldn’t you know?  We get the same hotel room I had last time, and it’s just how I left it!  (seriously, I pulled out one of the beds a bit so I could use the outlet behind it, and the bed was RIGHT where I left it).

We walked to a pizza/sushi joint that said it was open until 10pm, but were told it was closed when we entered.  Just down the road a bit further was a grocery store, so we loaded up on some fixins to make a “room-dinner” and let the feast begin (still no sim cards, OR playing cards though).



 

After that it was a good book reading session followed by lights out.  Tomorrow’s the big day.


The next day we’re up early for coffee and breakfast, our first real meal in country:


 

 

The Hospitallers are our first visit.  We’re still working with RAZOM as they have multiple warehouses and they don’t quite know where to put us.  It’s no problem really, as our operation without cell/data service is simple:  We log into the hotel internet and do all our messaging via whatsapp, we head out to our scheduled delivery, and come back to the hotel to regroup. Rinse-repeat.

We get to the Hospitallers location at our scheduled time of 9am and there’s no one there.  Their vehicles are there, there are guards there, but no one to take our delivery.  We try calling our contact a few times (we have conditional call forwarding, which means we get about 4-calls in country before our phones stop working) but no one answers.  Eventually we head back to the hotel to snag that wifi.  Still no sign of the people we’re supposed to meet.

Instead of doing nothing, we think of ways to stay productive.  In order to get through the border without issues, we don’t seal our boxes up.  This includes the three boxes we’re going to send to Kyiv and Dnipro.  Since these are going through the post we need to tape them up and add addresses, so we make a work station out of my tailgate and into production we go. 

 


Originally we were against taking items that were earmarked for the Hospitallers and using them for other purposes.  But as there was no one home (and there’s no guarantee that they’re going to be there later) we decide to snag a few things out of their boxes to help stuff Vola (I've since learned that I've been mispronouncing Vola's name as "Vlad", my bad) and his wife’s IFAKs.  Chest vents, head lamps, quick clot granules…  Once done we tape everything up and as we finish, our phones start vibrating.  It’s RAZOM and we are cleared for landing. 

We get the address, but are warned that people have issues finding the place once they get close.  We’ll get to that later because what happened along the way still gives me the chills.

So there we are, 100% business as our two-car convoy is headed to our first secret drop of the trip.  Co-pilots are studying the GPS, radio chatter is kept to an absolute minimum,  I’m in the lead and crossing a highway, headed slightly down hill when I hear the distinct sound of the ENTIRE… UNIVERSE… being ripped… COMPLETELY apart….

This shrill destruction of everything we hold holy starts just behind me and to the left and I can hear it coming toward my left shoulder.  I don’t have time to turn by head but as my ear is being destroyed from the left inside out, the light above me blinks out for split second and there, above my windshield blasts a MiG-29 at full chat and MAYBE at treetop level (and I mean MAYBE).  I swear to Bob his lower VHF antennas were in danger of scratching the paint on my roof.  He’s headed away and to the right and both of those cans are lit, glowing, and pointed RIGHT at me. 

It

Was

AWESOME!!!!

(and this comes from a guy who spent several years working the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, but I digress)

As I quickly wrap my head around what just happened, and while my eyes processed the awesomeness they were nearly blinded by, I took a second to try to understand what the hell just happened.  And this is what I came up with:

The Ghost lives. 

The Ghost lives and he knows about us.

The Ghost lives and he took his precious time and fuel to blast the tops of our roofs to let us know he’s aware of what we’re doing
 and where we are.

I have never in my life been the sort to fawn over a celebrity, doesn’t matter who they are.  But the Ghost is the Ghost, and I have never had the shivers he gave me.  Even typing this weeks later makes me shake all over.  That’s something that’s going to stay with me the rest of my life.

About now you're probably expecting to see a quick snap of the Ghost's shiny backside...  Sorry guys.  Attempts to capture moments like that only serve to ruin them.  Just know he's still out there and he was thinking of you.

Ok, sorry for the side-track.  Back to that address that’s “hard to find”:

Once we get there, we can see what they mean.  No matter what address you type in, the GPS(s) always take you to the gate of the same dirt parking lot (and I’m not even kidding.  Every address we entered brought us to the same place).  So naturally, we get to said parking lot and the guard comes out.  We show him where we’re trying to go, and he gestures WAY OUT and around to the left and that’s the direction we head.  We get to where we think we’re supposed to be (a row of storage units) and my phone rings!

It’s RAZOM, and he’s asking where we are.  We explain what’s around us, and he points us towards a tall building that has an easy to spot banner on it.  We now have our destination in sight but no GPS route.

Unfortunately, typing destination into our GPS takes us back to (wait for it) that darn dirt parking lot!  The guard comes back out and we explain.  He points WAY OUT in the other direction this time, and we do our best.  Except THAT road takes us right back to (yup) that darn dirt parking lot.

Eventually we spot a packed dirt hill that looks to be part of a construction site.  We drive to the top and look out “Lion King” style.  We spot a route and decide to proceed on foot.  Once we had the path, we went back and got our cars.

It all made for a good laugh once we dropped stuff off and had the chance to shoot the E36 M3 with the workers.  “Vlad”, and I can’t remember the other guy’s name (sorry, other guy).

 



 

We talk a bit about who we are and what we’re doing.  Vlad was a sound technician for clubs and the such.  He was asked if he could help out in the RAZOM warehouse and when he saw their tracking/inventory system, he said he absolutely had to do something about it (it was awful).  Now that’s what he’s doing during the day.  Keeping the organization organized.
 


 

 

We talk about where we’re going next (to the Ukrainian Post Office) and they direct us to NovoPosta as it is infinitely faster than the government run post office.  This aligns with what Vikki said as well, so we get ready to go.  We show them the boxes with the addresses and they start laughing… 

Vikki’s boxes are addressed correctly, but the one addressed to the guy who needed uniforms, they said it just had random letters on it!

“How could this be?  I showed him a photo of the address before I wrote it!”

They absolutely could not stop laughing, and neither could we.  I mean it just figures, right?

To fix it, they simply blacked out the random letter block, and said that the rest of the address was good to go.  Apparently I had written (in order) “Name of Country, random letters, Name of City, then street, and then name”.  Oh well, close enough.

They let us connect to their warehouse wifi so we could get the address to the NovoPosta and we were off.  Unfortunately, as we were driving I noticed my GPS was just spinning in circles…

Mrs. Hungary wasn’t having any better luck with hers either (must have been the tall buildings).  Remember when I said these guys don’t like to give out addresses until they’re sure of who’s who?  This place is surrounded by apartment buildings.  A terror strike in an area like this would be catastrophic.  More so if it missed it’s intended target.

We try driving, and I’m not even making this up, but everything we do takes us back to that darn dirt parking lot (and to the guard who is getting quite the laugh out of our many visits).

Eventually we realize that the road we’re supposed to be following is dirt, and the reason we couldn’t see it is because it was blocked by construction debris and is now overgrown.  Walking is reported to be only 18 minutes so we park back up on top of that hill and load up our bags with water, snacks, and sunblock and start heading in the general direction of where we think the NovoPost is.  This, turns out to be the right decision.

 




The building is easy to find, and the warehouse is HUGE, but luckily the people inside are super helpful.  We can’t communicate, but they can see the boxes and take us to the correct counters.  To ship 2-boxes of firefighting PPE, and one BIG box of uniforms, boots, and other mentioned goodies), it cost us $50 out the door.

I think the USPS needs to pay a big visit to Ukraine and find out how these guys do such things.

After that, walking back was a breeze, and we’re on our way back to the hotel.  To pirate some more wifi.

 




 

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