There has been a ton of back and forth in the wishes of the city government and the county government vs the international presence at our center. The priority of some of the Polish government is to move people directly from the border to the train station instead of coming to us. Evidently the trafficking and other safety measures we have in place slow the flow of people and they want everyone moving as fast as possible.

At one point this week the word was that they were shutting the whole center down since none of the other centers nearby except us at this point and they don’t let us have booths at the train station where the private cars are still allowed to come and take people without questions asked. We were told yesterday that they were going to start by stopping bus service from the border to our center during the 12 daytime hours and only bus here at night when they need a place to sleep before trains are running.

We had a meeting to discuss sharing the cost of a bus and driver for 12 hour shuttle service and putting volunteers on the ground and signage stating that we are the official international hub and warnings not to get in private vehicles if this happens. And they are trying to phase out our center altogether to force people to catch a train further on. That same day we heard that Poland’s free trains for Ukrainians deal was expiring. So not only were we worried about what refugees would do if they are bused to the train station and don’t have money for the train but we were also worried we might have built this whole network of hundreds of people and NGOs just to be shut down.

The next day, of course, everything changed when we got more word that the city stepped up and is providing a full bus shuttle directly to us! The plan evidently was to turn our center into Only international departures where people should only be staying a couple of nights waiting for their bus. In the end that is actually a win win for us! If people have the wherewithal to head to the train station and arrange their own route that’s fine! They aren’t taking rides from strangers. If they don’t know where to go and need us to arrange housing and aid payments upon arrival for them, they come to us. With a bit less volume we can get people in buses and to their temporary home much faster.

 

For now, the plan is to pool every country's finances together (with us as a participant) to fund a bus from the direct border to our international desks. They want to shuttle people from the border directly to the train station but we have so much more to offer in the centre. Every day we work on the same mission. Keeping people safe. 

 

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