18 May 2015

Meeting a Chernobyl resettler

It was my third trip to the Chernobyl zone, but the first time meeting one of the re-settlers to the zone.

Rosalia is 87 years old, and she lives alone in Zalissya village a few miles outside of the town of Chernobyl, which is about 6 miles from the power station.  She walks into town for provisions, rarely accepting a ride.

The house (more of a wooden shack) has no running water, gas, or electricity.  She tends to her land (a very large garden) growing vegetables all by herself.  Even while we were looking around she kept digging away.

I'm told she used to be a teacher of Ukrainian language and literature.  She returned to her village after the accident despite the officials trying to get her to accept an apartment somewhere outside of the area of contamination.

I asked our guide Helen, if we should give her a "tip" for her hospitality.  "No, she wouldn't accept it" was the reply.

Rosalia, you have our respect.

For those who might be interested in the photography side of things, I used a slightly unusual lens with my Olympus EM1 body.  It was a Fujian 35mm manual focus lens with a microfour thirds mount, that I picked up on eBay for £20.

As you can see, optically it's a bit rough around the edges, but it has a rather pleasing sharp spot in the middle that I think works rather well in this image.

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