We were on the road at last!  Our team consisted of the four of us from the States, Maryna from Priyateli Ditey, our two drivers, and two volunteers. We had invited two recently graduated college students who had been sponsored through our program, to travel with us.  Andriy Drofa and Oksana Boyko came not just to help, but to serve as role models for the children, and to explain the sponsorship program to them.  They both did a wonderful job. 

We first had to get to southern Ukraine.  Although I've looked at maps of Ukraine many a time, for some reason I had never noticed that Odessa is almost directly south of Kyiv. 

I think my eye tends to follow the curve of the Dnipro as it transects the country on its way to the Black Sea. A brand-spanking new "superhighway1" has been built from Kyiv to Odessa, and we drove down it, stopping only for gas, food and restrooms. We had set out late, so we arrived in Odessa at night, catching glimpses of it and the Black Sea coast as we searched for the coastal road.

Why Odessa, you may ask?  Why not head directly to Krym and the internaty we had chosen?  Well, we had a few tasks to take care of "as long as we were in the neighborhood." The first was to visit the internat in Ochakiv, just east of Odessa. Our Buy-a-Bed campaign had purchased 100 beds for them, and we wanted to see how they looked, and make sure they were being used properly.











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  1. 1.Ukrainians refer to it as their autobahn.  It is unlike other highways in that there is limited access and exit, and slow vehicles are forbidden.  Unfortunately, that memo has not gone out to the bovine community, and I saw many cows on the verges, and even a small herd of them walking up an exit ramp.


The Route