Monthly Archives: April 2007

21st Anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster

Today marks 21 years since the accident at Chernobyl. We are now having a second generation born and living their lives in radioative contamination! There are many sites on the net to go to for information on the accident and it’s aftermath. A simple Google search will give you plenty to read. Here is a link with a Belarussian perspective.

When we arrived in Belarus this year we stopped at the offices of “Hope for the Future”, one of CAC’s partners located in Minsk. They had this map on the wall. It shows the areas of contamination with the darker shading representing more severe radiation.


Here is a close-up of the region that we spend most of our time. I have added the English names to Mogilev, Chausy and Kostukovichi.


On our drive to Kostukovichi we pass through the evacuation zone where no one is supposed to live. Here is a shot of me standing next to a warning sign. It is easy to see why people would want to return or reluctant to move as there is no way to sense any sort of problem. Note the overgrown building in the background:


The next 2 shots were taken from the window of the van as our driver really did not want to stop in the zone:


Most of the houses and buildings have been bulldozed and buried as people were removing articles and materials to use at home and of course these items are severely contaminated.


This road was once completely closed but it is now open as it is the most direct route to Moscow from the Mogilev region.


Eric, Kooshat!

Just to let everyone know I am trying to tidy up a few details from my last years trip on my video editing computer and have not yet been able to load this years video. Once I do I will post video for you to see, so please be patient. If you have not yet done so, please click on the subscribe button at the top to be added to my list of people who are automatically notified by e-mail when I add a post to this blog. In the meantime here is a post giving you a “flavour” of the food served in Belarus:

“Eric, kooshat” or in English … “Eric, eat!” I heard this over and over. Although I am a long way from being undernourished, my host-Mom seemed to be very concerned that I wasn’t getting enough to eat and was constantly trying to feed me extra meals. Just for fun I took some pictures of some of the food I was served to share.

This is cabbage soup with a dollop of sour cream. I had this several times and this time it was served at the Chausy Orphanage.


This was also served at the Chausy Orphanage, it is a baloney type meat on bread with a little cheese melted on it.


Here is a typical breakfast at my house. Macaroni served with some cold sliced ham. Of course we had tea (chai) at every meal. The bread and peanut butter was always available after we had delivered the boxes from Canada as they included the peanut butter which is not available in Chausy. The cake was leftover from the night before (we had a little celebration) but this type of dessert, when leftover, was always served at breakfast.


OK … this one was hard to guess and I had to ask. The answer came through my Russian/English dictionary … it is liver, layered with sour cream, peppers and I’m not sure what else. It was also served cold. I am not a big fan of liver so this was probably my least favourite meal.


Here is a picture I took of someone elses lunch! We were at the Cafe in Chausy and Jennifer Hopson ordered this, it is a cabbage dish served with french fries and peas. The peas were always served cold and yes that is a whole order of french fries. Most times the Canadians would order 3 or 4 orders much to the bewilderment and amusement of the Cafe staff. FYI … no Heinz Ketchup in Chausy, their Ketchup was a watery red liquid.


At the same meal I ordered what they call a “stew pot”. It is served in a small brown crockery pot and has potatoes, ham, beans, mushrooms and sour cream. This is what it looks like when it arrives:


… and here it is after you stir it up:


It was quite tasty!

I didn’t gain any weight while I was there, but I think that was only due to increased activity and very little junk food. I certainly ate alot more than I do in Canada. Eating is a very social affair in Belarus and a meal would be laid out on the table on many dishes. Everyone has a small plate and you keep taking food from the other plates to your own. The meal may last 30 minutes or be stretched out for several hours with lots of discussion … the more people present … the longer the meal. It seems to be a healthy way to eat and and enjoyable way to spend time with family and friends!


The Soul is Healed by Being with Children

I received the following quote in my e-mail today and it really struck home!

The soul is healed by being with children.” -Fyodor Dostoyevsky, novelist (1821-1881)

After spending time with the kids at the Chausy Orphanage I can absolutely attest to the accuracy of that statement. Here are a few pictures in case you need convincing:










Hugs and smiles that will melt your heart and “heal your soul”!