From Blackhill to Belarus

Kill man Michael Gavin has departed on his fourth trip with a container load of supplies to help people living in Belarus.

Kill man Michael Gavin has departed on his fourth trip with a container load of supplies to help people living in Belarus.

In 1986 an accident during a systems test at a nuclear plant in neighbouring Ukraine led to radioactive devastation across a wide area and neighbouring Belarus was badly affected.

This is Michael’s fourth trip to the area and the journey will take him through eight countries and three time zones.

“I hope to be back by the end of the month but this is likely to depend on delays at borders, probably on the way into Belarus. Once I made it back here in 16 days and on another occasion the trip took three weeks. You can be held up, that’s just the way it is,” the 65 year old told the Leader the day before he left.

“The last time I went was three years ago and was stopped for 18 hours on the way in to Belarus from Poland. The authorities in Belarus are not keen on outside help from any other country but the reality is that it is needed,” added Michael, who lives in Blackhill.

On the last occasion he brought materials for the building of houses but this time he is ferrying about E12,000 worth of clothing, food and furniture which will go directly to orphanages.

All of the items were donated and include a machine secured from a hospital here for making tablets.

The trip is not without risks. Michael brings his own food and water because people visiting the area are still advised against consuming food or drink sourced there.