Friday, June 29, 2007

Russians in Homer Area

I have been picking up bits and pieces of information on the Russians and their communities over the past few weeks. Here is some of what I have learned. I will relate some of it to Doug's job as principal of one of the Russian schools.

There are 3 Russian communities at the "end of the road" past us on East End Road: Voznesenka, Razdolna & Kachamek Selo. Each of them has their own school which is part of the Kenai Peninsula public school system. Razdolna has just had 5 new homes built in the past year (very nice, vinyl siding, modern) and they are talking of an addition on the school. Other Russians integrate into the community in Homer where there is another Russian school.

Razdolna is 5 miles off the paved East End Road, down a gravel road that was just built a few years ago. Many of the locals have never ventured down there, which is why when Doug asked around to find out where his school was, no one knew! It took us a couple weeks to finally find it, which is the way that community wants it!

Voznesenka is down the switchbacks, which were built by Billy Jones' grandfather (the people we're renting from). Back in his grandfather's days they went in to Homer twice a year--drove down the switchbacks to the beach and rode the beach into town. These roads are very steep, and I was a bit nervous driving on them (for those of you who know me, that's saying a lot!). I was relieved to find out Doug will not be driving to that school every day!

Kachamek Selo appears to not have a road to it at this time, only a 4-wheeler trail. It is down on the beach below the other two villages. All of these villages are within a mile or two of each other; I am not sure why they are separate villages.

The Russian women and girls all wear long, beautiful dresses with belts around their waists and a sort of head covering like a scarf that trails down their back. The women I have seen have all had dressy sandals with 1-2 inch heels. They are all very poised, with excellent posture and graceful. Men and boys wear baggy pants and long-sleeved shirts with a belt around their waist (around the shirt, not the pants). They tend to have dark complexion and hair, unlike the women I've seen who are all fairly pale with lighter hair color.

The familes are large, 6-12 children. Children often stay home from school to do chores or tend to their younger siblings. They also have days off school during the week at times due to religious holidays. Girls may marry as young as 13, boys are usually 18. Many practice the Old Religion, which I won't attempt the details of here, though I know it includes fasting from meat, dairy and sometimes oil on certain days.

As I discover more, I will add to this. There is much to learn!


Anonymous said...

We sure enjoyed Aurora and I was wondering how she is adjusting. Did you find a school for them?
It took me two weeks to get rested. My ankle is healed now. My skin on my ankle bone got rubbed off by the clamming boots. When I got home I went to the Dr. and I had an infections. Delores has something to use for open cuts when you get ocean water on them.
God Bless you in your new adventure.
Diane L. Nelson

Paula said...

Hi Michelle,
As soon as I found your blog and she saw your pic, she said, "Michelle, Michelle!"
Alaska seems like a good place to loose yourself whether you're Russian or American, huh? That's amazing to me that locals don't even know where these communities are. When Does Doug start at his new job?