Chernobyl, Ukraine

I’M PRETTY CONFIDENT THAT MOST PEOPLE KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT CHERNOBYL. Any tragedy with so much impact on the human race will leave a significant kind of a mark on history. To me, Chernobyl is even more embedded in my memory.

Years later in 2018, I received an email from Maxx Kochar, the program manager from Photographers Without Borders. He had a special request just for me, to see if I was interested in going to Ukraine to cover the story of the NGO Clean Futures Fund who helps the local communities in and around Chernobyl who were affected by the accident in 1986.

Pripyat is a ghost town today, named after the nearby Pripyat River. It was founded in 1970 and built to serve the people of the power plant which is just 3 km away. You may expect that these places and my photos of them might invoke a sense of despair or sadness, but in reality, I saw them (and hope you will as well) as stunning and peaceful.

The only sadness I felt was when I wondered how long the town might be around for, because it’s own way, Pripyat is beautiful.

Ron B. Wilson

I had the privilege of going with a family back to their apartment in Pripyat that they lived in when they were dating before the accident. This was the first time any of them had been back to these places in over 30 years.

One focus for CFF is by helping fund a local rehabilitation center for children and young adults. We had the pleasure of visiting the center a few times during our visit. The center is run by Anna Dmitrievna, a warm and gracious woman. She is assisted by one of the leading physicians from the power plant, Dr. Beznoshchenko. Together along with the staff of CFF and the physical therapists we met, they make an excellent team helping the needy young people they serve.

Another notable and vital thing that CFF is doing in the area is by providing assistance to the liquidators, those with serious health issues due to the years of work they did in Chernobyl cleaning up after the accident. Most of them describe the accident and years afterward as “The War,” and unfortunately, they were fighting an invisible enemy

The highlight of one Sunday in Chernobyl was crowned by viewing some of the paintings and icons inside a church, depicting Jesus helping the sick children and first responders from Chernobyl as the explosion from the accident is visible in the background, they were simply marvelous.

To view more of my work, please visit my travel photography blog: Art, Style, Flow is an inspirational travel blog by Ron B. Wilson #crestcontest #artstyleflow #travelphotography #blog #chernobyl #ukraine #europe