I don't know how many of you heard about this horrible accident in western Ukraine on Monday night: a train derailed, caught fire, and released a massive toxic cloud of phosphorous. This happened in the area of Ukraine--between Lvov and the border with Poland--where the girls and I were just two weeks ago. Our friends are there right now, but I haven't been able to reach them by phone. I haven't been able to find a map to exactly pinpoint the path of the cloud, but news reports don't tell of a massive evacuation. (Where would the people go?? And how would they even leave?) Authorities have advised those remaining to avoid well water, vegetables from their gardens and milk from their cows. If you read my entry on Daily Life in a Small Village in Ukraine, you'll know that this is impossible! Our friends rely ENTIRELY on well water, homegrown vegetables and cow's milk!
Ukraine is still suffering the aftermath of Chernobyl... The lingering effects of that disaster are apparent in the cancer that is even destroying trees. I took this picture not far from Lvov; the balls are manifestations of the cancer. The road was literally lined with such trees. It was so sad; I couldn't stop thinking of how many people have contracted cancer, too. I asked our friends about it, and they just shrugged. They were unaware of how many people have suffered from cancer in the years since; they hadn't even wondered if the local rate of cancer had increased. I guess when you know you won't have any medical help, why think about it? Just live in the moment... They couldn't believe that anyone else would be interested in such questions and found it rather odd that I was curious about the trees--enough to even take pictures.