Aid Trip to Kosovo

Thu, Aug 12th 2021 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Judy Eldridge shared her experiences from an Aid trip to Kosovo in 2003


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12th August 2021 My Aid trip to Kosovo in 2003 – Judy Eldridge

As a member of the Reading Maiden Erleigh Inner Wheel, Judy was Chair of the International Committee

The Club was given a presentation from Tom Conlin from the Rotary Club of Slough, with regards to a charity called HOPE and AID DIRECT who took aid twice a year to Kosovo. At that time Kosovo was still suffering very badly from the effects of the Balkan War

It costs over £2,000 to rent, insure and fuel a vehicle for such a trip, and were asking for help from local Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs

Judy responded by organising a Fashion Show that raised the necessary money.

Tom then asked for volunteer drivers for one of the trips so the other ladies suggested that as Judy had been instrumental in raising the money, that she should be the one to go!

So she was ‘volunteered’ for a two week trip, taking out shoes, clothes, blankets, sanitary and medical supplies.  Part of the deal was an ‘opportunity’ to drive a 7.5ton truck!

The Charity had a warehouse in Slough where all the collections were sorted, so off the 6 truck convoy went, with 4 ladies and 9 men. As she wished to have a practice driving a 7.5 T truck, she thought it would be a good idea to start the practice in England, but they were short of time, so her practice was the first part of the journey to Dover!

Conditions were fairly ‘basic’, staying in service stations overnight, with Judy above the cab and men in the back of the truck. The breakfasts cooked on the tailgate of the truck were much appreciated! Various borders had to be negotiated with France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, with a lot of delays and paperwork issues. Spending a penny was at times difficult, although on one stop, in the dark, they ‘managed’, only next morning to find that there was a portaloo about 50m from the truck!

At the German border, they were joined by a 44T truck/lorry, provided by Ford with the Logo:

“Taking Aid – not sides”.

Once in Kosovo, they met some of the locals, and via interpreters they got the message that only the English were helping! Things were desperate over there with nothing available in the shops to buy. Aqua boxes were much appreciated. It was heart breaking to see the conditions that the children were suffering, when they visited an orphanage. A video was then shown with Charles Storer presenting his ‘Hope and Aid Direct’ charity work.

Mary gave the Vote of thanks indicating that the talk was most informative and proving that Judy was a brave, determined 64 year old, dealing with, not just driving the truck, but the cold and dangerous conditions on her trip and members joined with their appreciation.                               AR

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