Новости от Энтони Четыре Ружья (его отчёт о поездке):
'Back in Russia!!!'
Friends,... Well, here I am again, back in Russia, and this time to represent our northern cultural life once more...
This 13th Annual International Congress on Circumpolar Health, held here in Siberian Novosibirsk, the fourth largest city in this country, after Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Leningrad, will be held in Yellowknife three years from now, in 2009.
Which is what brings our small delegation here to represent the North. There are actually two separate groups of our representatives here, one of people involved in the medical and health fields, and another to do with those of us to help to put together the future do in the North.
I was here in this same place three years ago, believe it or not, in September, which has a lot to do with the reason I was picked to act the part of Cultural Ambassador for the North again.
At that time, as I may well have mentioned before, I was something of an instant cultural icon here. Right from when I first set foot on Russian soil I was to play the part of a beloved lifelong folk hero to do with some First Nations' storybook character these people grew up with, right down to the way I look, moose-hide jacket and all. Had I else to do but go along with this happenstance deja vu? I should think niet, and cerainly not in largely military environs, mind ye...
Well, and here we go again, huh? This time around I received a good word or two from one Mark Wilson, who was with the original group who toured this country, and even from our own Chief Medical Officer, Andre Corriveau, who is also here heading our delegation. At that time it had to do with attending the annual Siberfest, an arts and crafts event. It was also a conference to teach our Siberian counterparts the ins and outs of art as a business, and, of course, to hightlight our northern diamond industry.
At that time, and still to this day, the feeling between my Siberian ancestors and me is definitely mutual. People have a lot to say about the shortfalls of the way of life here, which for a good part is true.
Cerainly these people have a lot to catch up on being accountable to a truly just society, but to me this is really a matter of degree, no more nor less. There will be injustices wherever it is you go, friends, and I, for one, simply do not trust any society that does not have its share of poor people, who are present everywhere here, and understandably so.
These people in Mother Russia have had their fair share of real troubles throughout their herstory, but have come through with a rare sense of pride of self and even good humour. It is infectuous and makes me, at least, as an appreciator of the ultimate good in people, want to keep a-comin' back to these parts.
So, and in three years time be prepared to see a good number of people from here and from all over the World to attend the 14th International Congress on Circumpolar Health in our north. And, 'til then, vsevo kharasheva! (all the best) and for now, too, spasibo, thank ye all, good friends...
Friends,... 'All the world's an act, and we but the stooges that play upon it'...
Words somewhat to these confusions were once and famously pent by the noted Shakespeare, give or take an ounce of pretensions...
And so it is that I continued with my recent visit to Russian Siberia, a dream come true for me, for my officially stamped post-cards from these hinterlands prove it, and, of course, the air-miles across my brow.
Before I left the North here I was very much interested in a seemingly off-hand comment made to me by the story-teller Emerita Esmerelda, who said that this partticular trip would likely prove to reach me at a very diffent level, which is exactly what happened. Or could it be I was more in tune with how this one observation would play itself out?
Either way my Russian hosts chose to first leave me with the family of a recently retired Russian Federation Army sargeant, Pasha Maxsimov, his wife Galia and their two daughters. Things got off with a bang, (the dreaded 'spatz', really), as I caught some kind of a two-day Soviet version of fуod poisoning involving a traditional refreshment called in English bog myrtal and something else quite sinister-sounding in Russian Siberian. I have since sworn off the stuff, not that I will find any at our eateries up and down any northern avenue nor lane.
Well and the rest of my stay was indeed very enjoyable with this family, who matched my non-knowledge of lingual Russian with their own country manners in the community of Berdsk (pop. 200,000).
Summer in Russia is a lush and green splendour, with most people still busy but also taking the time to just kick-on-back, Ruskie-style. One particular part of the Siberian lifestyle that I especially learned to crave involved the 'banya', a bath-house common to any household there. There is a change/anteroom in front, much in the order of Bob's Sauna and Emporium and an ingenious stove-and-water-heater set-up that has a little part on the side that holds the rocks yуu pour the water on to make the cleansing steam. There is also a funny goat-hair hat that you get to sport, and a kind of wand made of birch leaves, to beat yourself with and open those pores.
Well, and the days and weeks passed on by too quickly with Sargeant Maximov's family, but I do believe, upon review, that my main lesson that Ms. Esmerelda alluded to here has to do with part of the lyrics to yet another Buffy Ste. Marie song, in which I do believe she refers to the part played by even zealous militant activists in general. A little hard to explain, really, but what I mean by this is that we too often make assumptions of people and fail to see the humanity.
Like most Canadians I have my own beliefs about freedуm and equality and all of it, but what I learned all the way over in Russian Siberia is that everyone has a family to protect and to enjoy when all is said and done, and this traditional Russian hospitality is not soon to be forgotten. And, again, friends, vseve kharosheva!, All the Best...