Kitezh Day 2 – Monday, 27 June
Loretta sent this dispatch:
We started today at 8:45 with group warmup although it was pretty warm already. Because the day was to be another hot one, we started our outside work earlier. From 9-10 we made banya brushes* out of birch branches. These brushes will be used when we have a banya one night this week. A banya is very traditional Russian bathhouse and usually includes a steam room session and a shower. The banya in Kitezh has a room for tea, a huge shower and a steam room. The banya is used for socializing as much as for health reasons. The females will go one night and the males another.
They are all smiling… I’m not sure they know what the “brushes” are for yet.
At 10 we had our breakfast. We continued to work on the brushes from 10:30 – 12. It was super hot and, if possible, buggier than the day before. It seemed like a new biting bug joined the biting horse flies and mosquitoes. At 12 there was suppose to be sprinklers set up to cool people down. I told the kids to either go into the sprinklers or to rinse off in a shower to get some of the sweat that the bugs love off of their bodies. Well….the pumps were broken. Kitezh got a new pump last year. Both the old pump and the new pump broke. We had no water. So no sprinklers and no showers.
Kitezh has a large cat population. Russian cats are apparently just like American cats.
The rest of the day was spent having a meeting to learn about the Role Play game, meeting with the other teens for cultural exchange exercises, [see Cultural Exchange, Monday 27 June] having lunch and dinner. Afternoon work was canceled because of the water issue.
Meeting in “the Big House” to talk about the games.
Our evening group meeting was full of laughter and jokes (and some people having a hard time staying awake) despite the heat of the day and the bugs. The kids have been troupers! Their positive attitudes, flexibility, and willingness to do what needs to be done despite the heat and bugs (have I mentioned the bugs?) has been fabulous!
Volleyball in the much cooler evening.
There are about 15 volunteer teens from Moscow for this week. Since we were only going to be here one week for prep, they thought they would need the extra help. About half are leaving at the end of the week. The other half stay for the games.
PS: After writing this I realized it sounds like we have no drinking water. Rest assured that we do. We should also have shower water by the morning.
*”Banya brushes” are birch branches bundled together. While in the steam room, the Russians like to have someone beat them with a brush. This sounds rather unpleasant but it isn’t and many kids who have experienced a real banya think it might be one of the best parts of being in Russia. They might want to build one when they get home.