November 30th – December 1st


Good, whatever day and time it is.

Wednesday, we loaded up the van with cold weather supplies that we already had from donations, and then at 0530 we visited one of the warehouses of my friend Oleg’s organization, Forever With Ukraine. We added more cold gear and a very valuable collection of medical equipment for a military hospital in Mykolaev.

We set out for Mykolaev at about 0700 and fought Kyiv rush hour traffic and a pretty heavy snowfall. The roads were an icy mess. Add in no streetlights or stoplights and you can imagine the chaos. Once we broke through it was smooth sailing… Until we came to the exit for our Google recommended route.

Google maps is pretty much worthless here and I already know this. Like the US, Ukraine has national and international highways, state highways etc. The general rule is, use the M’s and H’s but not the P’s and T’s. It sent us on a P but it made sense so we risked it.

I cannot put into words how much this road sucked. I tried to add a picture. 4 hours and 150 miles. My back will never be the same and we are lucky the van survived.

We arrived at the military hospital in pitch dark around 1800, way longer than it should have taken. We met Olena the director and turned over the gear. We didn’t have a place to stay and Olena offered for us to stay at the hospital at first, but we found a hostel closer to Kherson which was the next day’s mission. It had no hot water, but there was pizza. And a western toilet.