4. Traveling to Ukraine, a Land Where Spring Has Yet to Arrive
The Russian invasion of Ukraine drags on.
The peak of Spring seems less significant due to the prolonged invasion. Here is our 4th report about the Ukraine situation.
Day 11: March 20, 2022
At 9 am, we drove to Galati, the area where the borders of Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine meet. We went to the border from Moldova and could see a small refugee camp. For some reason, there were no refugees in the camp.
We passed the refugee camp and stopped our car at the border. We could see a sign we had never seen before. It said, “Do not pay money to cross the border when your passport is checked.” The sign seemed to imply the level of corruption in the country. While we were looking around the border area, we met a young Ukrainian couple. They said they came to the border by train and crossed it on foot. They also said they were going to Warsaw where the husband’s mother lives. We wondered and asked them how a young man could leave Ukraine. They said a young man with a special exemption document could leave the country.
We drove to the border between Romania and Ukraine but had to return to Galati because we were not allowed to cross the border. It seemed that the area was very poor. The border guards were rude and domineering. We drove through downtown Galati and then headed to Hungary, our next destination. It was 795 km from Galati to Nyiregyhaza. We drove without stopping to go through the Carpathian Mountainsbefore nightfall. Three of us took turns driving, so we were able to arrive at our hotel in Nyiregyhaza at 7 am the next day.
Day 12: March 21, 2022
Since we drove all night, we arrived at the hotel and got some rest.
We left the hotel at 10 am and visited several post offices in Nyiregyhaza to find out the whereabouts of the tourniquets sent from the US. Where were they? Despite our whole day’s effort, we were not able to locate them.
Day13: March 22, 2022
After checking out of the hotel, we drove to Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Once we arrived in Budapest, we visited several post offices in an effort to locate the tourniquets. We found out from the USPS website that the 17 boxes of tourniquets left the Frankfurt airport in Germany at 9:15 pm on March 21 for Hungary. Knowing this information, we called Magyar Posta (the Postal Administration of Hungary in Budapest). We found out that the boxes were in customs. We then went to Magyar Posta and showed the tracking number of the boxes. However, the office told us that the location of the boxes did not show up on the computer yet. We went back to our hotel in Budapest with no luck in finding the tourniquets.
Day 14: March 23, 2022
We drove to Nziregzhaya to find out the whereabouts of the tourniquets. We heard in Budapest that the tourniquets did not arrive in Hungary yet. Nonetheless, as soon as we got up early in the morning, we decided to locate them and entered the tracking number on the USPS website. According to the website, 6 boxes of tourniquets have already gone through customs, but all of the necessary documents need to be submitted for us to pick them up. The other 8 boxes were in customs, and the remaining 3 boxes did not arrive in Hungary yet. We drove back to Magyar Posta. One post office employee told us to wait for their phone call at the location where we could get the boxes. We went back to the hotel where the boxes were supposed to be delivered. Unfortunately, all the rooms at the hotel were fully booked. We left our contact information at the hotel but had to find another hotel.
We wondered whether we could get the tourniquets and deliver them to Ukraine without any problems. We all felt heavyhearted today.