Blog posts


kindergarten in the exclusion zone

April 26 is the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. I spent the day touring the Chernobyl exclusion zone with the crew behind, a website devoted to the history and news from Pripyat.

Pripyat, the city adjacent to the Chernobyl power station, had 46,000 residents. All that now remains are the slowly crumbling buildings. Anything of value has been destroyed or stolen in the past 21 years. Vlad Vitvitskiy showed me around the Solnitsye kindergarten where his brother and sister attended school.

My wife Amy thinks this photo is cliche. She says anyone who has seen photos from Chernobyl has already seen photos of abandoned toys scattered across the classrooms. Perhaps, but I found the hastily abandoned toys and pillows and baby shoes quite affecting. To think that the children who played here have either died or grown up to have kids of their own.

Were these dolls abandoned in this position, mid-play, or did someone rearrange them over the past 2 decades? Hard to say, but they've been there long enough to collect a layer of disintegrating ceiling tile dust on them. The red blocks on the right have most likely gone untouched for over 20 years.

I have many photos to share from the day; I will post more as I process them.

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