Sunflower Update: New Van

Meet our new van, Shylah!

It is a 2008 Citroen Jumper, can carry up to three pallets of aid supplies in its large cargo hold, has a rare crew cab configuration that will allow us to transport up to six people plus driver (small people), it is a diesel, and it gets really outstanding fuel mileage. With a full tank and some gas cans we can get it halfway across Ukraine and back.

We had it tuned up, put new tires on it, added a tow package, and kitted it out with emergency equipment, some tools, pillows and blankets for van sleeping, and some USB ports. Tomorrow is its first trial run into Ukraine.

This van was made possible by a couple of anonymous donors. However, the primary donor picked the name, Shylah. It is named for the fiercest and kindest of his pet rabbits, so if you know who that is say nice stuff to him.

Myself and Oro leave early tomorrow morning to pick up a couple of pallets of aid supplies from HelpUkraine.Center in Lublin, Poland and then begin the long trip to deliver them to Boryspil, near Kyiv, Ukraine.

This will also be the test run for a whole new approach to border paperwork that many of us, but most especially Kevin, have been working on for a very long time. This is an entire other post worth of stuff, involving our Polish Sunflower Foundation, registering vans in Poland, powers of attorney, customs forms, letters of intent, and much more.

We owe a big thank you to Vivek Chaturvedi. He fearlessly, and with endless patience, battled the Polish bureaucracy for us and emerged victorious. At one point there were three angry women on their side of the cubicle yelling at us to go away. I would have crumbled, or gotten upset. He maintained, and with a combination of cajoling, pleading, and strongly insisting, managed to get us legally registered, a new license plate, and the right stickers and paperwork. The Polish bureaucrat is a formidable creature, but Vivek was raised in battle with the bureaucrats of India, and there is no comparison for that level of obdurate intransigence. The van is now a legally registered to our Sunflower Project Polish Foundation (of which Vivek is a Vice-President officer), and should be ready for whatever the Polish and Ukrainian border officials throw at us. 

Kevin is leaving Ukraine now for Romania, having just delivered aid supplies to Kyiv, in addition to helping out some Ukrainian refugees with delivery of personal supplies from Poland to Ukraine. We will all meet somewhere in Poland or Ukraine in a week or two.

It is amazing, also, to have Oro Whitley here with us! He has brought the best can-do attitude, and will be using his skills as a professional photographer while volunteering and helping deliver aid supplies.

Ok, there is so much more, but that is more than enough for now. Enjoy these pictures of the van!

Oh, and, yeah, we could very much use fuel and operating money, so send us something in PayPal if you are so inclined.

Thank you so much!