Friday, March 5, 2010

The Great Town of Vytegra

Well, another night in Vytegra, and a great one at that. We began the morning with our third and final school. I must say that even though these students were considered the "troubled youth" of Vytegra, they seemed to really have a blast there. This is the first time that we didn't hear the administrators praise not only their students, but also their teachers. We were able to hear what the school does for the children and then show us a little bit about what school is really like for them and that was refreshing. Don't get me wrong, with how little the town has, it is very impressive what kind of education these kids get in Vytegra.

It was a very laid back environment and it reminded me very much of some of my classes in high school. I feel like the kids at this school were not afraid to make a mistake or ask a "stupid question" in front of their teachers where as some of the other classes that we have visited in the other two schools were a little like that.

After answering questions from the kids like, "Do you have drug problems at the university," "What do you do in your free time," "How do you like American politics," "What are your classes like," "What do you want to be in life," and so on, we were able to talk to them a little bit and of course...take millions of pictures. It is funny how all the kids want to do is get a look at you or take a pictuer of just you or most often take pictures with you without saying a word to you. It doesn't bother us at all, but it definitely is a different experience to be the one that everyone want to see. Sometimes it is like we are in a zoo or we're some really big celebrity. I don't know how people constantly in the spot light do it.

Then we moved on to the next hot spot in Vytegra, ДДТ, which was a great place. It was like a community center for kids in town to learn how to make traditional crafts like beautiful lace, dolls, cross stitching, weaving, and so on. They also had dance and exercise classes. While we were there, we were taught how to make a traditional doll, which was funny, because the bigger the bosoms you made, the better luck it was, and the bigger wishes you could make. Not being so talented, I made one bigger than the other, which was funny, because the woman who was so patiently helping us out came by and quickly pointed out that they were not the same size, saying, "Oh, you have a little wish and a big wish." We also we able to see one of the girls in the town make lace. Wow was that talent and great patience. The teacher told us that it takes about 1 year to learn how to make lace and, depending on the pattern you want to make and what you want to make, it takes about 25-30 hours to complete. I could not believe that when I heard it. And looking over the girl's shoulder making that lace, I just don't know if I would be dedicated enough to sit there uncomfortably for 30 hours carefully braiding the lace together.

After the crafts, it was time for dinner. As it was our farewell dinner, we all dressed up nice and went to our normal spot, Bistro. It was another great three course meal with appetizers of cabbage salad, marinated cucumbers, a plate of salami, cheese, and ham, and bread with butter and salmon laid on top. Then dinner and dessert came. It was chicken and potatoes, ice cream, special berry tort, and, of course, tea. Dinner was accompanied with many toasts and laughs.

Finally, as a night caper, we decided to go to the local club for one last night on the town. With nothing else to do but pack, we figured, "Why not?" We had been invited by some of the students at the school today. Come to find out, as we awkwardly walk in to the club, tonight was for younger kids. Needless to say, we were kicked out of the club because we were too old! A great way to end the trip.

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