Teslawensrit picks up 34 Ukrainians from Poland

Tesla
wensrit 
1st ride
to Poland 
March 12, 2022
1st
ride to
Poland

It will not have escaped anyone's attention, terrible things are happening in Ukraine. Today (March 13), there are almost 2.7 million refugees already. This is equal to 3 times the number of inhabitants of the city of Amsterdam. 1.6 million refugees have now arrived in Poland (source: UNHCR). Many European railways have indicated that travel is free for Ukrainian passport holders. A number of airlines have also offered free tickets. This way most people can still leave the country and travel further into Europe. For more than 2 weeks, Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60 have been banned from leaving the country as a result of a general mobilization of Ukraine. This means that the women and children have to leave their partner/father behind.
Of course, there is never enough space to move this many women and children quickly. The result is long queues at stations and airports. They stand for hours, and sometimes even for days, waiting to be taken to a place of safety.

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Organization

 

Tesla wensrit couldn't just stand by while this was happening. It started small with a wild plan to get in the car and pick people up at the border. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done. There were more and more reports that it was unsafe at some locations in Poland, people wouldn't just come along and we also have to deal with a lot of legislation and regulations. The plan slowly started to take shape after much searching and talking to organizations and governments, Short summary: drive to Wroclaw with a full car on Friday, rest there and return on Saturday bringing people along. Fundraising campaigns were started at various locations to be able to bring along the most urgent items. We were able to take with us medicines, hygiene products and maternity packages. There was even a large bag with baby and children's toothbrushes given to take along. It's great to see everyone contributing!
In the meantime, a list had been created with the families we would pick up, together with the addresses and contact numbers of the destination.

Wroclaw

Of course we wanted to be recognizable (we had shirts printed and the cars visibly provided with our logo) and be able to explain who we are and what we do. We had this printed on a beautiful flyer and had it laminated. This way, it is immediately clear to every passenger what to expect from us. It is important to us that we can provide a safe (car seats available), quiet and mostly carefree ride. As much as possible we drove one after the other so that people could still see each other at all times. Communication between drivers happened by using walkie-talkies.
Thursday evening: time for all drivers to get ready for the drive to Wroclaw! Collected goods were sorted and packed lunches were made for the road.

There
we
go

Friday March 11: Go time! The drivers would come from all over the country, so we decided the meeting point in the morning was at the Tesla Supercharger in Hanover. The ride and the charging of the cars went smoothly. There was a long line at the Supercharger in Kostomłoty. We had to wait for a long time. We decided to eat while waiting, even though a 4 star pizza was all there was. Later on we found out there were also a number of chargers in Wroclaw itself that we could have used. You learn things like that on your first ride. We drove to the hotel from the last charging station. The road led us past the central railway station. Here you could already see more of the impact this war has. Tents were set up outside in which the meals for the refugees were made. Many people were walking outside the station, looking distraught and uncertain. Insecure about their family who sometimes had to stay behind, what would the next day bring, where they could sleep and what they eat? All that uncertainty while walking with your child in your arms. Rest and relaxation does not happen here. When we arrived at the hotel at midnight, we put our things in the rooms and had to go back to the lobby. Our contact person from the station would come by to meet us. The stories this man told us, gave us goosebumps all over our bodies. We cannot imagine such situations in any way. It was immediately clear to us that he would become our regular contact here in Poland. He will distribute the goods correctly, help us with organizing the passengers and when necessary he will translate for us.

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Return trip

Na een zeer korte nacht met nog minder slaap ging de wekker. Iedereen bleef maar malen in zijn of haar hoofd. De verhalen, de beelden en de wil om te helpen, dat gaf ons de energie om vroeg in de ochtend direct aan de slag te gaan. Alle spullen waren weer ingepakt en de auto’s verzamelde aan de zijkant van het hotel. Stel je voor, 8 Tesla’s achter elkaar geparkeerd. Al snel kwamen onze eerste passagiers. Je zag duidelijk een lach op hun gezicht. Ja het is echt waar! We mogen mee naar Nederland, weg uit de opvang, station en soms overvolle huizen waar men tijdelijke opvang had verzorgd.

Back
to
the Netherlands

Soon a crowd of 31 people, some with only a handbag, was waiting to leave. This crowd consisted of mostly women and children. The youngest passanger was 2 years old. Mark is his name Everyone's favourite. Mischievous and so innocent. Fortunately, he didn't pick up much of the situation at home. But there were also older children among them. They are scarred for life, just like their parents. We tried to find spots in the cars so people could travel together. This was not easy, but everyone wanted to get out of there! At first it seemed like we had too many people for the amount of seats available. There is panic in the eyes, immediately. Fortunately, this was a misunderstanding. After a good explanation, with the help of our pamphlet and 1 of our passengers, who was able to translate from English to Ukrainian, we managed to find seats for everyone. When everyone had found a seat in a car, the ride could begin. During the first kilometers you notice that people can't believe it. There is a sigh of relief clearly noticeable and even when you are not in the car it is clearly visible on their faces. There is a strange silence. After all, you have no idea what they had seen, felt or heard. Music helped us a lot here, too. Music is the language everyone speaks. Fortunately, some also had Google Translate in the car so that conversations could be held, even if only minimally.

Soon you get to know a lot about each other. We were shown photos of family and the beautiful cities. Some just enjoyed the music. Yes, if one of the children gets a mobile phone, you are at the mercy of them. The music went from beautifully calm to extremely loud. Well, that's how you get to know someone. Most of them engaged in conversation pretty quickly and even had a little laugh. Sometimes the laughter turned into tears quite easily. A report just came in that the residence of some of them was being bombed and shot at. The videos were soon shared via the internet. What a terrible image this is. The kilometers were filled with stories, tears and laughter. A very special experience. Obviously, this isn't just a ride from A to B. You are the driver of the ride of their lives, the ride to safety and peace. This is an important task with an even greater responsibility that cannot be carried out lightly.

Soon it was the evening and everyone was looking forward to have something to eat. We had dinner with the whole group at the Supercharger in Lauenau. This as the conclusion of a very special journey.
With a few short layovers, all passengers arrived safely at their new homes and all drivers made it home safely. Everyone was tired but felt very satisfied. We rescued 34 people and 1 cat from the war, the cold and the sometimes crowded places and brought them to a warm, safe shelter. Tears kept coming when we said goodbye. This is hard to imagine for everyone.

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Women


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Children


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Men


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Animals


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Day after

Na wederom een korte nacht zijn de eerste chauffeurs van het komende weekend al in de weer om de rit te organiseren. Iedereen wilt, iedereen moet. Dit is iets wat we met z’n allen moeten oppakken. Ieder draagt zijn of haar eigen steentje bij, maar we doen allemaal ons stukje.

Ons verzoek is om te blijven doneren, ontvang de mensen wanneer er plek is, help mee bij de opvangcentra!

Geschreven door onze vrijwilliger Robert Jan Ekdom.

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Tesla wensrit has the ANBI-status

Personen of bedrijven die doneren/schenken of een erfstelling doen aan een ANBI, mogen de giften aftrekken van de inkomsten- of vennootschapsbelasting. Zie Belastingdienst - Giften en ANBI voor meer over (de aftrekbaarheid van) deze giften.

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