How the Red Forest is taking over Chernobyl

Link to the Daily Mail’s story on the Red Forest claiming back Pryriat

Now I’m not a fan of the Daily Fail but this time they’ve done a good piece on the area.  Is about the forest taking back the land. 

For those that don’t know it’s called the Red Forest as the trees are full of radiation and looked red after the explosion.  The land was levelled to build Chernobyl and the town of Prypriat (Chernobyl is the plant and not the town) in 1970.  16 years later the reactor exploded and started leaking then 27 years later nature took back the land.  I guess it’s a quick circle of life thing!!

When you go to the site scroll down to the video.  Is just over a minute long but gives you a good idea of what it’s like.

I would recommend staying away from the comments at the bottom!!!!  I didn’t and resisted commenting!  One thing that was raise was why didn’t the explosion level the area like the atom bomb when it was 100 times bigger.  The short answer is the Atom bomb exploded in the air and this was on the ground. So the force went into the ground and sky but the radiation kept leaking.

I do disagree with the numbers of people killed.  Yes it may only be in double figure on the day but in the last 27 years there have been 10,000s killed by cancer and other complications from radiation then there’s all those that will die over the next 20,000 years. 

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Oh so quiet.

The house is so quiet.  We’ve gone from a busy house of 5 back to the 3 of us.  It’s strange not having them here.  It’s going to take a while to get used to.

Spoke to them both on the phone.  I arranged a time to call before I left (I recommend this as a, they don’t always answer the phone and b, it’s easier than trying to explain down the phone who you are!) DHD2 was happy to be home.  She’s very much a daddies girl and missed him loads.  I wish I could say the same of DHD1.  She cried and said she missed us over and over.  No amount of ‘but you’re home with mama and papa now’ consoled her. I know why.  In not saying as it’s private to her but I understand fully why she feels this way and once she’s old enough if she still feels the same way I’ll suggest she applies for a visa and comes here.  I’m saving now.

A few days ago I had thoughts of never doing this again.  I didn’t feel I could cope with the goodbyes but DH reminded me of something the Chairman said when we first discussed doing this.  ‘You always get starched to the first ones’ she said.  So I’m guessing she’s right as she just hosted her 16th kid and she’s not gone totally mad! (It’s OK she’d be the first to say she mad!!!! Lol!!) So my plan is to host 2 more girls next year and raise the money to get DHD1&2 the following year.  Or in the mean time I could win the lottery! Hey there a chance!!! OK it would be higher if I remembered to buy a ticket!!! Lol!

So, if you’ve read the blog this far you must have thoughts of hosting?  As someone who’s done it I’d say DO IT!  The heartbreak of goodbye is far outweighed by the joy you get when they’re here and the more that do it the more kids we can help.

To those who say ‘it’s not our problem’ I say it could of been.  I grew up near Selefield, who’s to say someone couldn’t of made the mistake they made at Chernobyl at 1.10am on 26th April 1986?  The plant is still leaking, it could be our children suffering from the leak not theirs.  Please help.  Don’t let this be swept under the international carpet.

I found out something interesting last night.  I was looking up Korosten and I found out it’s a ‘recommend evacuation area’.  This basically means they should leave but no one is going to help them or pay for new homes.  The people of Korosten have no choice but to live in an area of high radiation as they can barely afford to travel let alone move.

Imagine someone came to your home and told you to move, but they weren’t going to give you another home, not help you to move and you certainly weren’t going to get financial help!  What would you do?  Do you have the money to buy a new house? New belongings? What about the cost of travel? Do you have that spare?  That’s what they face.  It explains a lot.

April next year there will be another Chernobyl Awareness week.  If you don’t feel you can host please help out CCLL.org.UK raise awareness.  If you want any more details feel free to contact me too.

Thank you!

There had been loads of tears today.  We were all fine until we got to the airport then the floodgates opened for all four of us girls!! 

Coming home from Gatwick was the worse journey ever.  We had to leave the girls not knowing if we’d ever see them again.  I have to be honest I didn’t turn around after we left them.  I couldn’t.  I knew it would hurt too much.

I know there are people who will say I was being stupid but you try taking two amazing girls into your family for four weeks then leave them not knowing if you’ll ever see them again.  If you can do it and not care/worry about them your not human!

Now my head is a little clearer.  I’ve gained so much from them.  They don’t want things like kids here do.  They need things and are grateful for them.  My friend gave them 2 CDs each yesterday.  Neither of them had ever owned any music!  DHD2’s brother has an old PC and he downloads old songs but DHD1 has only ever listen to the radio!  She knows Justin Bieber (neither are fans! In fact ‘you’re Mrs Bieber’ became a regular insult!! Lol!) She’s never had her own music to play.  They were over the moon to get these CDs!  Kids in the UK would look at it and moan they already had those ones.

I am a firm believer things happen for a reason.  I’ve had a lot of set backs in my life but I look at each one as being a way to change my life’s direction.  Now I believe these girls came to help me open my eyes and see what I need to do next.

I want to know what Korosten NEEDS not like here where kids want the latest Xbox (Sorry DH for stealing your metaphor!!!) I want to know what the Doctors, schools, kids etc all need and then I want to talk to local schools, doctors, hospitals, dentist, businesses and groups and make sure everyone knows what’s going on over there and how this radiation is affecting lives.  Is not just the radiation leaking but the plant was a major employer so now it’s shut there’s no jobs.  Children are going without medical care because there’s no money to pay for it! Yes everyone knows about Putin and Stephen Fry’s letter about Gay Rights but what’s the point of gay rights if over the border in the Ukraine kids are dying of preventable disease in the 21st century!??! 

Chernobyl Children’s Life Line has been working for 20 years to help these children and the local areas but who knows about the work they’ve done our what needs to be done?? 

Yes I know charity begins at home but I don’t have much money and I can help!  By having those two girls here for 4 weeks they’re lives have been extended by 2 to 10 YEARS!! That’s just by having them here.  So the Swindon Link of CCLL have helped 18 children this summer.  You get a few host in EVERY village and town and think about how many kids you could help? 

Add to that all the out of date medicine, bandages, dressings, test tubes, needles etc that get throw out in your local hospital, doctors surgery, even employers first aid kits that are throw out every year.  I remember years ago my employer throwing out carrier bags of it off date bandages because you can’t use them past their use by date because they ‘may not be sterile’.  Trust me in Korosten where they routinely remove teeth without any pain relief or anaesthetic they don’t care about use by dates!!  So why not ship them over?

I’m hoping I can talk some local groups into ‘pairing up’ with schools, doctors etc over there and sending books, pens, medical supplies.  But first I need to talk to someone who knows what’s needed over there.  Then I know exactly who needs what and where.

In the mean time I have a promise to keep.  I was begged to promise that DHD1 would see us again.  That’s a promise I’m going to keep.  It cost at least £500 for one returnee.  Both girls want to come back so that’s £1000 minimum I need to raise.  So I’m going to think about fund raising.  If any one has any ideas or better still donations!!! Please contact me.  I have two beautiful girls who need to come back not only for their health but for everyone mental health as they’re part of my family as well as their own!

If I can’t make Korosten a better place to live, I’m damn sure I’m going to make their lives better!!!

I have to. They’ve opened my eyes and sent me on my ‘next road’. For which I say thank you girls, from the bottom of my heart…

THANK YOU

This is it..

.. Time for goodbyes 😥

I can’t believe the time has gone so fast.  For weeks seems like no time.

We’ve had tears.  They don’t want to go home, we don’t want them to go! I just keep reminding them they’re family is really missing them and wants them home.

5 days ago DHD1 showed me her bruises.  I didn’t realise how bad things were.  I’ve watched her since and the slightest knock and she gets a big colourful bruise.  I’m very concerned.  If I’d seen it sooner is of got her to a doctor over here.  I’ve spooked to the chairman and she says to tell their leader so she can make sure ant medical checks that are needed are done when they get home.  I’ve got a very nasty feeling I know what it is but I’m hoping it’s a simple vitamin deficiency.  When she came her nails were very weak and covered in calcium deficiency flicks so I think she’s missing a lot of vitamins. With any luck that’s all this is too.

The next few days are going to be very hard but we’ll get there.  Thanks to these two amazing girls I am so much more prepared for next time.  Time to prepare for the next lot I guess!

What is it with people and phones???????!

OK I have this bug with ringing phones.  If I hear one it has to be answered.  I guess it goes back to working as a trainee and if it wasn’t answered I was shouted at!! Lol!

Any way, I’ll start with the beginning of the day and then my rant about phones will be clear!

DHD1 told me on Friday that her dream was to ride a horse.  Saturday my friend told me if I could get her to the stables this morning she could do it.  So our plan to go to the beach was delayed!  The girls got ready for the beach, I hid trousers and trainers in the car!  Thank gawd we live in the UK and the weather changes a lot.  I hid it all under their coats and said they might need coats later! 
So off we went to ‘the beach’ neither girl having any clue what was going on!  We got to the stables and they looked totally bemused.  They couldn’t figure out what was going on.  Then DH said ‘you like horses, would you like to ride one?!’.

DHD1 looked at me stunned!  She thought it was a joke until I said ‘happy birthday, it’s true!’. There was a look of total happiness and then sudden fear!!!! Lol!!

My friend tacked up the horse while DHD1 got changed.  She went out and got on the horse.  She was really nervous but off they went.  She was led around the yard then off down the road. 

Ages later she came back with the biggest smile on her face! She’d loved it.  She came off the horse and gave me, then DH, then DD the biggest hug ever!!! She was over the moon!!!

DHD2 wasn’t impressed.  In fact I think she was a little nervous!  Give her her due she got on the horse!!! She only went round the yard.  She wasn’t interested in doing any more! Lol!!

So dream ‘wished’!  Off to the beach.  I knew it was going to be a long drive.  We were going to West Bay in Dorset (Where Broadchurch was filmed!) To meet up with my old mate.  We got going and the sat nav said 2 hours 27 mins.  Oh I wish!!!  Accident on the motorway meant lanes closed and big tail backs.  It took over 3 hours.

Got there and had an amazing day.  They swam in the Sea (yrs it was very very cold!) They loved it!  I had a good old chat with my old mate and life was good.

We left aiming to be back by 8.30 so DHD1 could phone home.  No! The traffic gods were against us!! 10 mins down the road and we got the first accident.  Road Closed, follow diversions.  OK a little delay, no problem!  30 mins later, Road Closed, follow diversions again.  OK, this isn’t funny but not too bad.   Another 20 mins ROAD CLOSED!!!!  OK this isn’t funny any more!!  In the end we didn’t get home until 9.45pm. 

Note the rant!  I get is 11.45pm in Ukraine but if my phone was ringing and my daughter was away I’d run and answer it!  Did they?  NO!!!!  Nor did they for the next 30 minutes!!!  In the past we’ve had to call DHD2’s parents and get them to tell DHD1’s parents to answer the phone but as it was so late I didn’t think it was a good idea.  If it had been an emergency I’d of done it but this wasn’t.

So here I have a little girl who’s had the birthday of her dreams and she’s in tears because she can’t talk to her mum!!  Right.  She’s my baby now too and no one makes her cry!!

I go through everything until I find the profile the charity sent me (note to future self.  NEVER lose those profiles!!! Lol!) I remember there being another number on there that I couldn’t figure out what it was.  Sometime suggested it was mobiles and that’s what I was counting on!  I dig out the folder and got the code for Korosten, I dial the number, it rings.  Then some one answers!!!  ‘Oh s**t’ goes through my head! I done speak any Russian and neither kid is any where near me!!!!!

I say hopefully ‘is ******** there?’ (* is DHD1’s mama!) I get a reply from a man!!!  I say her name again and he repeats whatever he said!!  In total desperation I shout down the phone ‘DON’T HANG UP!’ and DHD1’s name!! I then run across the house and shout for her, she comes running totally confused!!! I virtually throw the phone at her and say ‘it’s papa’ hoping it is!!!!! Lol!!

Turned out it was Papa and Mama was there too.  She told them all about the horse ride, they thought it was a joke! Lol!  She said everything else she’d done then calmed down.  She gave me a big hug and said ‘I love you Mama’.  I told her I loved her and I’ll do anything for my daughters.

So all the tears had gone.  Everyone went to bed with the McD’s we picked up on the way home (dinner time was on the road!) And things have calmed down again!!!

Let that be a lesson to you!  Check out package deals on your phone.  I’m with Virgin and I can call Any where for 400 minutes a month.  That includes Ukraine and Ukrainian mobiles!!  Thank gawd!!!  I’ve not had to stop and think.  I’ve just let them call when they want too.  But watch out.  If your kids ate home sick calling home too often can make things worse.

Well it’s now midnight and I’ve got another busy day in the morning so I’d better upload this and get to sleep!!!  Just needed to rant about the phone and share the rest!  Hopefully it’s going to be the birthday she’ll remember forever.

Sneaky little toads!!!!! ;-)

I can’t believe how sneaky those kids have been!!! Four weeks of sneaking around behind my back!! I’ll get them back!!

Today we had a thank you tea party for everyone who helped us and part way through the kids did a performance.  DHD2 sang in Russian and DHD1 read a poem in English!!!!  She’s had this English poem book everywhere she goes and I couldn’t figure out why.  It turns out the girls were practicing in their room and she was reading the poem wherever she could!!! Sneaky madam!!

They not only did that but have me a card saying thank you Mother.  They have DH a Thank you Father card and DD a thank you sister card.  That made me cry.  It was so sweet.  They did so well.

Only 3 and a half days left.  It’s going to be hard. We had a few years tonight.  They’re pleased to be going home but will miss us.  I told them to think about going home and don’t think about missing us.  We’ll deal with that on Thursday. 😦

Wedding day!

Every new event it gets a little harder to accept the girls are going soon and last night it was really hard.

Yesterday we all went to my sister in laws wedding.  The girls told me they’d never been to a wedding before.  DHD1’s sister is married but when she did there was no money so they didn’t ‘celebrate’ it was just them and a vicar.  No cars, photos or party.  So this was all new to them.

My friend is a hairdresser so she came round and trimmed hair and put it up in my case and curled the girls hair.  DHD2 looked worried about having her hair cut.  I couldn’t figure out why until my friend said

‘I’ll only take a little off, just the split ends’. 

She relaxed then and said ‘not lots?’

‘NOOOOO’ I said exasperated!! ‘Your mama would kill me!’

‘No’ she replied ‘Mama wants it short!’ That’s what the problem was!!!  Mama wants her hair cut short and I think she thought Mama had asked me to get it cut!! No way! Not even if she’d asked me to.  These girls agree going back as they came! No extras not things removed! 

After that little mix up things got sorted.  Everyone was dressed up in fancy clothes, shoes etc and looked amazing.  Off we went!  The wedding was lovely and the party was great fun but there was something pulling at my heart all night.  This time next week they won’t be here.  They’ll be gone and there’s a good chance I’ll never see them again.  Just topping this now I can feel my heart breaking.  Last night my mother in law said goodbye to them and they both started to well up.  I spoke to them when we got home and they said they were both really going to miss our family and friends.  They’ve been made to feel like part of our family (which they are!) And they love us all. 

It was the hardest conversation I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some toughies!!  I had to stay positive and say that they’ll be home with their families soon who miss them as much as they’re going to miss us! And that I’ll send photos of everyone at Christmas etc so they know what’s going on and don’t forget us.

Thursday is coming too fast.

The more I think about it the more I want them back as returnees in 2 years.  If I fund raise I can get the money then we can have two different girls next year and them back the year after to have dental treatment and their glasses checked.  It’s going to be hard work but the girls are so worth it.  They’re family now and you do all you can for family.

Even with all the heartache now is do this again next year.  I’m sure there will be some wobbly moments next week where I think I’ll never do this again but I will!!!  It’s been worth it.

On a lighter note, DHD1 is 12 tomorrow and she’s told me what her dream is.  There’s a chance it will come true tomorrow!!!!  Fingers crossed it all goes to plan!  

DHD2 told me hers too, trying to sort it for her birthday in November.  Don’t suppose any one knows who manages 30 seconds to mars or Paramore?????!! Lol!!!!