SELFSETTLERS, or SAMOSELY
SELFSETTLERS, or SAMOSELY
Along with many new words, generated or directed to household use by Chernobyl explosion, – "liquidator”, "roentgen”, "decontamination” – there is a strange word "selfsettlers (or samosely in Ukrainian and Russian)”. It is a name for the people who were taken out of their homes in Chernobyl zone but who then – on their own risk, violating the restraint and outsmarting the guards, – returned to their native villages and places. Later their number was complemented by a small group of former workers of Chernobyl alienation zone who settled in the city of Chernobyl.
All samosely live beyond the most contaminated ten-kilometer zone around the nuclear power plant. An exception is one family of two people: the famous (up to TV broadcasts) grandpa Savva and his wife live in Novoshepelichi village, next to Pripyat city. At average there are about ten selfsettlers in each populated village, but there may be only one and usually very aged woman.
Samosely are supported by the administration of Chernobyl alienation zone, but this aid encompasses mostly the villages where a group of samosely lives or where foresters work in shifts. The life of a solitary selfsettler is a daily feat and risk, increased manifold by their age and being distanced and forgotten.
The selfsettlers are wonderful people, resilient and hard-working. They stay in constant communication with nature, depending on its forces, struggling and using them. This is the real full harmony with nature – something inaccessible to urban dwellers and even those who live in modern villages.
The selfsettlers tell in simple way about their meeting wolves or elks on village roads, about their war with wild boars, constantly attacking their vegetable gardens. They also treat their household animals in a special way, like family members.
Meeting samosely is one of the strongest impressions from trips to Chernobyl zone, particularly of a thematic "Chernobyl home” trip. You can feel the traditional way of life – that of thousands of generations of our ancestors before us.
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