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ish Rotarians under the direction of Ryszard Tuczyn, respectfully nicknamed “Richard the Lion- hearted .”Richard, two other Rotarians, and an interpreter ac- companied the New Hampshire contingent during this journey. It is late afternoon. Recently, the truck and van appear to have reached their journey’s end.
Many hours before, this truck and van had been a part of a single large convoy of 30 trucks that would ultimately split up to fan out over Ukraine to reach 20 orphanages. The convoy, which originated in Poland, was sacred, having received the water bless- ing of the Orthodox Church. Indeed, it was also blessed by the work of hundreds of other car- ing individuals, Polish, Ukrainian (who facilitated the border cross- ing and routes to the orphan- ages), and American. Critically important for the success of this mission of mercy was the collab- oration of the Rotary Club of Plymouth, NH, and Rotarian brethren in Poland.
As the convoy journeyed to
February 2023
  Orthodox blessing. Photo courtesy of Plymouth RC.
phanages had to be undisclosed. Those watching the final ap- proach to the orphanage by the truck and accompanying van have witnessed a concerning event. The journey had been challenging. Many roads were unplowed. Road signs had been purposefully mixed up to slow the possible advance of Russian troops. Nonetheless, Alex, Lisa, Steve, Susan, and their Polish colleagues made the trip safely. The truck with its supplies has been running smoothly. How-
ever, within a hundred yards of their team’s goal, the vehicles lost control on ice and drifting snow. As a result, they slid off the roadway. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the vehicles were snow- bound.
Inside the orphanage, one of the children’s guardians has been watching the approach of the vehicles’ lights. He had been exclaiming cheerfully to those in the building, “The lights are coming; our friends are al- most here!” Responding to their guardian’s exuberance, many of the children could be seen run- ning from room to room, waving flashlights and shouting, “The
lights, the lights, see the lights!” or crying out, “It’s Mommie, it’s Daddy.” (Not all the children are orphans. Some had been sent away to this refuge by parents fearful that their homes would be destroyed or damaged by the Russian air attacks.)
Soon, a quiet pause occurs in the gaiety. The lights are no longer approaching the building. Worry replaces joyful anticipa- tion. The adults in the orphan- age, knowing the identity of the approaching travelers, send older boys out to help dislodge the ve- hicles. A four-wheel drive car has been impressed into service, and other adults in the vicinity join in to help as well. The van passengers, anxious to get to the orphanage, disembark from the van and walk briskly to the orphanage. The early evening brings a deepening chill.
The New Hampshirites and their friends enter the one-time monastery building just as the unstuck truck pulls within sev- eral yards of the large front door. The older “orphan” boys, as well as Alex and Steve, begin to off- load the welcome cargo. Some of the children, excited by the
Poland’s eastern border, it was waved past hundreds of other trucks waiting to enter Ukraine. That this convoy was of great im- portance was public knowledge. It was welcomed by government officials and celebrated in the local media. However, the exact destinations of the 30 trucks were kept secret. The Russian strategy
of attacking schools and medical facilities had led to many fatali- ties and injuries. (Common Man for Ukraine would deliver a mo- bile medical unit to help com- pensate for those health facilities damaged by Russia’s indiscrimi- nate attacks.) Therefore, because of Russia’s indifference to civilian suffering, the location of the or-

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