Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Trash Pickup Day for Razdolna

Picking up trash on the 5 1/2 miles from East End Road to the village of Razdolna is an annual event for the students at Razdolna School. The kids were disappointed because normally the weather is beautiful and sunshiny, but today there were snow flurries and 20+ mph winds. The girls looked frozen in their dresses with no hats or gloves, and the guys weren't dressed much warmer. I had on my heavy 4-wheeling garb and was toasty, though would have appreciated some hot chocolate all the same! The whole school K-12 got the road picked up in 2 1/2 hours. We had two vehicles and two 4-wheelers and hopscotched down the road, dropping off kids past the previous group. We left the bags on the side of the road and the villagers pick them up when they go by and take them to the transfer station.

An anthropologist studying the trash might come to one major conclusion: the Russians only drink beer. Nearly all of the dozens of bags of trash was beer bottles and beer cans. When I mentioned this to a teacher she suggested that maybe that's the only thing they can't take home so it gets thrown out the window; everything else they take home and put in the trash. Upon talking to the students about it, they said that most of the beer is from visitors who come for weddings or from other villages. How do they know? Nearly all the beer was Budweiser, and they said no one in the village drinks Budweiser. Gee, is that a sign of a small town or what??

I was expecting some soda cans, but I didn't find one. Treasures I did find: a one dollar bill and a cell phone. We would have found even more trash if all the snow were gone, but there were spots at the higher elevations that still had 2-3 foot snowbanks along the side of the road. Did I mention that it has been a late spring??!!

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