Sunday, June 5, 2016

Travel Log: Day Eighteen

Vladimir, Russia, 6/2/2016

View from inside a Russian
prison cell
                   Our last day in Vladimir for the week! Our first task of the day (post-Russian lesson) was to get food for this weekend. We're going to be 'roughing it' somewhat in Shukhudrinovo, living in a village without running water, no heating, and questionable electricity, and making our own food; the American Home gave us a budget of 9000 rubles and sent us to a grocery store to get ingredients. We ran around a grocery store, trying to read things and buy enough food for nine people (Vika is going with us); it ended up only costing around 6500 rubles ($100), gotta love that exchange rate! Then we went to an Italian lunch and had a few hours to just explore; the seven of us and Sasha went to a coffeehouse and sat and talked for a while, it was very relaxing.
                   We had an excursion to a museum about Vladimir Central, a huge, famous prison in the city that house political prisoners during World War II, and that was used as a halfway point on prisoners' way to Siberia during the reign of the Tzars. We talked about its history, about how, when it was founded by Catherine the Second it was very progressive for the time, and how its improving on prisoner treatment after the awful legacy the GULAG system left. After this we went back for a lecture on the modern prison system, which was very hopeful: Russia has significantly reduced the number of people imprisoned in recent years, and prisoner treatment is also much better than it used to be. The lecturer mentioned how one of the ways you can get a grasp on the health or struggle of a society is by seeing how many people are in its punitive system, with the fewer the better. Interesting to think about seeing as the US leads the world in number of people currently imprisoned.
Music Party!
                   After that we had a fun evening of music, hosted mainly by Alexei, a Russian amateur pop singer he found, and myself. We sang some American pop music together, I sang some classical, we taught everyone some Russian and American music, and it was all a ton of fun. Courtney's host dad got up and played 'We Shall Overcome' impromptu on the piano, which most of the Russian adults knew, and we ended the night with 'Party in the USA.' We got together with the Russian university students and went out to a restaurant after until around ten, another fun day with them. I'm so thankful with how friendly they are, and how enthusiastic they are about getting to know us; its made this trip even more enjoyable, and I'm really thankful for the friendships we're making.

Evening out with the students!

1 comment:

  1. I don't think you can look ANY happier than in the bottom photo!! ;-)