In contrast, many aspects of the town after leaving the museum reminded me that Vytegra – unlike the museum – could not be mistaken as being from anywhere in the United States. Much of the town’s infrastructure is seriously lacking in funding due to a variety of reasons, and such economic hardships were evident as we walked through the town. I was (and am) most impressed by the amount of snow accumulated. In some places the snow has reached a height rivaling my own, and to walk around it looks like they have cut into the snow and formed makeshift ice- and snow-covered sidewalks where they might be located in the few summer months. If we have complained this winter in Ann Arbor about lack of road maintenance, we have nothing to complain about in comparison to Vytegra residents, whose cars have all but disappeared in the buildup of snow on the side of the street. In addition, the large church in town, though appearing as if it were magnificent in its heyday, is allegedly falling into disrepair due to lack of funding and donations.
I am told that Vytegra School No. 2 may not have electricity and heating tomorrow, as the government is struggling to afford such “luxuries” in many state-maintained buildings. Perhaps then I can see first-hand the effects of the economy and culture on the Vytegra youth and education in the provinces.