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Perpignan: Return of two Catalans from a Ukrainian refugee camp, “We are ready to leave more numerous, stronger, we will not let them go”

Shocked by the fate of the Ukrainians, Bastien Joliveau and Caroline Ferrer, two friends aged 29 and 28, he a real estate agent, she looking for a job, drove to Medyka, a border town between Poland and ‘Ukraine. There they helped to welcome families of Ukrainian refugees fleeing by all means their country pounded by Russian troops. Returning to Perpignan on March 27, Bastien, who had become a P.-O. of the Solidarity Convoy, approached ALDP 66 to organize together a long humanitarian convoy.

2500 km traveled by car. In mid-March 2022, Bastien Joliveau, 29, real estate agent in Boulou accompanied by his best friend Caroline Ferrer, 28, looking for a job, did not expect “receive such an emotional shock” by reaching their destination: the border town of Medyka between Poland and Ukraine, in the Lower Carpathians.

“We both left full of empathy, of course, and very touched by the fate of these thousands of Ukrainians who fled hell, but also a little with the flower in the gun”, recognizes the young man. “Our families and loved ones weren’t necessarily thrilled. We were jumping into the unknown, continues Caroline, who has worked for a long time in charity. But determination and willpower prevailed over the risks involved. So they leave.

When they arrive at the Medyka camp, they come across an uninterrupted and silent line of refugees, the majority of whom are women and often young children. “Many have left their country by car with only the essentials, including their papers and some personal effects. But when they are faced with the shortage of petrol, a wait of 5 to 10 dantesque, bumper to bumper, many prefer to finish the journey on foot with children, luggage and sometimes their pet”.

“We only asked for that, to make ourselves useful”

Exhausted, haggard, staring blankly, the refugees were immediately cared for by the associations, supervised by the Polish security forces. Among the stands of the camp which are always full, the two Catalans fall on that of a compatriot installed there for 3 weeks. “He couldn’t take it anymore and asked us if we felt ready to replace him, says Bastien. As we only asked for that, to be useful, we accepted without hesitation.” Strong bonds are created. He bears witness, his gaze misty”we also discovered a huge heated tent, furnished, equipped with showers and wifi, set up by an active and very dedicated Chinese association. We met lots of great people from all over the world. And then we met Lilian Boulard, a 49-year-old entrepreneur from Bordeaux who launched the association Le Convoi de la Solidarité, which has spread all over France. Which Lilian disguises herself as Jack Sparrow the pirate to amuse the children by distributing them treats.

“It was this extraordinary man who triggered my humanitarian vocation”, admits Bastien who, for the moment, has put his professional activity on hold. Since then, the Catalan, who has become a referent 66 for the association, has never ceased to activate his networks, to give local visibility to the Solidarity Convoy. He fights like hell to contact personalities, bosses and elected officials and has approached the Association for Leisure, Diversity and Sharing (ALDP) with which he plans to organize a convoy of 4 or 5 trucks bound for the Medyka camp. “We all made a promise and we will stick to it: we will not let go of the Ukrainian people”.

Contacts: http://convoidelasolidarite.org/liste-des-besoins and on convoydelasolidarité@outlook.com Also visible on Facebook and Instagram. Bastien: 0638385185 or Caroline: 0778246510.

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