|Luglio 4, 2022||0|
By Francesca Caccia, YoRoomer
edited by Julia L.
How it started…
Since the pandemic put us in Italy into lockdown, we from the Italian team, found ourselves without an office space. So, to keep my spirits up, my social battery charged and my motivation as high as humanly possible under these conditions, I decided to occasionally work from a co-working space called “Yoroom”, located in Milan’s city centre.
Little did I know that this nice little space, would offer me more than a communal place to read emails and join Teams calls.
It was a regular Wednesday morning when I went to work and heard that everyone was invited to the event room for a gathering on a special project lead by a team I hadn’t met previously.
The meeting turned out to be about the humanitarian crisis we are facing in the Ukraine. Two guys talked and shared a video about a trip to the Ukrainian border to provide goods for the people currently living through the war. The aim of the meeting was “simply” to let people know that the co-working space was now also a collection hub for all kind of goods (food, nappies, clothes etc…) and if we wanted to donate any sort of goods, we were welcome to bring them there.
It was a great effort by the team, but I simply realized that I wanted and needed to do more. It took me 10 minutes to realize that, actually I wanted to join them. So, I simply knocked on their office door and asked if they needed another driver for their next trip in 2-weeks’ time. They stared at me, looked at each other and said “YES”. It was done!
And off we go…
Two weeks later (on a Friday the 13th, no less), we gathered and spent the whole morning loading all the goods into the vans. We ended up with three full vans, driven by 3 people each. A team of 9 who barely knew one another but ready for this experience.
We set off around midday on the Friday and we arrived in Poland the next morning, without any breaks to sleep. We drove more than 1.600km (1000 miles) to get to the Polish-Ukrainian border (Budomierz) to unload the goods and re-load them into a bigger van owned by our local contact there, a priest from Lwów. We only made little rest stops to eat or swap drivers. It was tough and a huge challenge, but with our mission in mind, we kept our eyes open and fixed on the road.
When we arrived in Rzeszow, Poland (100km away from the Ukraine border), we went into a big supermarket and spent the rest of the collected funds to buy extra food and additional goods. Our last stop before we arrived at the Ukrainian border on Saturday.
We were exhausted after the non-stop journey, but we found the energy, power and the strength to unload the good from the vans. We were greeted with overwhelming hospitality and gratitude amidst such horrendous circumstances that I can honestly say, it was worth every second of sleeplessness and exhaustion. With local contacts and friends, we were all able to pull together towards one common goal and ensure everything was delivered safely.
And now the whole thing in reverse…
But what happens after it is all said and done, and the last box unloaded? Well, it was time to head back! We set off into the opposite direction but, conscious that we missed one night of sleep, we booked a nice place for some rest in the Czech Republic. A shower, tasty goulash and a soft pillow was all we needed to fuel us for the long drive back home on Sunday. At this point, I would like to quickly thank Nicola W., who messaged me on Saturday night to check up on me ?.
Back in Milan, I was very excited to be selected as the “Yoroomer of the Month”. I had the opportunity to talk about my experience in a short video which was published on the Yoroom social media channels (it’s only available in Italian, sorry!)