Frozen Frontier

At the Hospital in Chabarovsk

March 5th
-7 degrees celsius
Hotel Tourist in Chabarovsk

”I want to return to the taiga as soon as possible”, Vika told us at our last meeting in Arkah, over a few glassess of vodka and continued, ”It is too dirty and smells too bad here.”

At this last meeting, they wrote a letter for us to pass on to Larissa, Vika’s sister and Yura Grigorovich’s wife, who was in was in hospital in Chabarovsk, expecting their first child.

”Larissa doesn´t want Yura to come, because his cheeks looks so bad after the frostbites.”

When we first met Yura Grigorovich in Uchugay, both his cheeks where infected badly and I felt worried. A couple of days later, some dogs fat had cured it, but the skin was discolored. Not badly, I think, just in a cool way. But then again I am not a pregnant lady in her 8th month.

It was actually hard to say goodbye to Slava and Vika. I promised to send them support if they get a child. They have tried and been unlucky. One time Vika was pregnant, fell on the ice and lost it. So I more than anything wish these two great people a child. A child of the forest.

During the visit in Arkah I learned a lot and in reality, today, very few of its inhabitants are involved in herding. We visited a boarding school, which has been in Arkah since Stalin´s time. Today only 16 kids were boarded there, because their parents live in the taiga and they see them maybe twice a year. All the Eveny´s on the expedition have grown up there. But things are changing and a mining company has moved in and that is never a positive thing for native people. This we know. And that they know themselves.

More people turned up to say goodbye, so we didn´t get a lot of sleep before we left next morning for Okhotsk with a local driver. From there we flew 5 hours in an old Antonov 24 to Chabarovsk. Where we are now, but….Arkah, what a great place! Great people and the generosity and stories are many. I will tell them to you one by one during the upcoming month.

Today we went out to buy baby gear for Larissa and Yura´s upcoming baby together with Kristina, the daughter of the angel who helped us in Arkah, Ludmilla. Kristina is looking for a career abroad, she studies IT and wants to live in Japan. So, for sure, things are changing in Arkah!

Just a short report today. But, let me finally say that in my last dispatch from Arkah, I joked with Yura Stepanovich that he enjoyed seeing the ladies dancing at the local performance at the Cultural Club. This was a joke between Yura and me, which should have stayed a joke between him and me. He and his family has been saddened by this joke. I want to apologize for any inconvenience I have caused by this silly joke.