Farmers; just the way I grew up…

I had thought yesterday was going to be slow and uneventful, but Vova decided he needed help in gathering supplies for his animals and truthfully; he did need my help and my presence garnered him supplies in some cases…

Coffee-iconWhen you live in the country or as my case as growing up. Farmers do what it takes to survive. It is no different even in modern times in Russia as now days, many people in America have lost their deep roots to the land that they can not fathom how the world really works. This is the same all over the world, the only exception that I have seen with huge cites in the world, is Moscow. Moscow still has most people planting gardens to survive. Even in the big city of Moscow, they grow food anywhere….Maybe you have seen people do it in other large cities, but Moscow has the highest percent of people still attached to the earth and that attachment comes from the fact that Russians have Dachas and at these Dachas they grow food for good eating….Dachas seem to be a right and or freedom for Russians to have, not a burden against them…

Therefore, Vova and I spent 5 hours driving around the back roads of rural Russia. During this excursion, we gathered over a thousand pounds of food stuffs for his pig, rabbits and chickens. The whole country side was doing the same and the haves were giving to the have nots…

This is a very important function of society and probably the most important part that I know of, for a society to survive. People have to give and take as needed, to allow all to survive. When we start thinking that we own anything we touch or think, is when we fail as a society. Greed is the word I am looking for…

Lets look at two pictures…

I am not putting images of what we did, for that would be wrong. I was allowed to become deeper into the Russian society and welcomed with open arms. The first image is a typical Russian Village Main Road. This is how a village looks as I drove from one to another. Yes, they are rooted to the earth and live accordingly…

The next image is Vova and I at a woman friend of his. Very nice lady and a fantastic cook. She seems to fancy Vova and she knew ahead of time an American was coming. Vova makes sure to use that ace card to his advantage…

Yes, that was a great meal…

I want to talk about something I just said above…

The “ace card to his advantage,” Vova is smart, well sometimes. When it comes to survival he is smart. One thing we did was gather about a thousand pounds of grain for the chickens to eat all summer. That meant we went to a grain storage area and bartered for grain. Or better yet, used anything and or anyone to get the grain for virtually free. This grain is important to survival, but cost is prohibitive for people like Vova and me. Thus when the guy in charge of the grain storage, bulked at letting Vova get grain for free. Vova was in trouble…

Vova had a bottle of vodka, box of chocolates and chocolate bars to give all around. I was with him when he bought them and I watched the whole process of trading this for that and giving gifts to entice people to be friendly. Vova was looking like he may not get his grain, for the man was the boss and he was not the friend of a friend that helps people like Vova. Then Vova’s eyes lit up and he pointed at me and said, “My friend is American!”

The ace card was played and a man who two minutes before had decided not to take the box of candy and not allow grain to go out the door. Smiled and hugged me! I was kissed on each cheek and after several other guys decided to do the same. I was accepted and a boss of the complex was so happy to see his first American, he took the candy and the candy bars and spread the treats among the workers. After he hugged me again and waved us to the storage area. He left and drove away in his UAZ… I became that Ace In The Hole!

The bottle of vodka went to the man in charge of storage and he took his bottle, buried it deep in a corner of the grain, to get later and left us to our work. About a thousand pounds later, we took off and we found about six people at the gate of the storage area, who all came to see the American. It was interesting…

Now the original reason I was needed was because I do not drink vodka. It was easy to turn down vodka on this trip, because, I was driving and Russians are smarter than they use to be. No drinking and no driving. I was the designated driver and thus excluded from all the social shots of life…

Very important socially that Vova sat with friends and others and drank his shots of vodka, to be one and the same. Not that Vova suffered in the least. He enjoys his vodka and he enjoyed this trip. For every stop was another shot or two of vodka and I could see why he needed me to drive. Kinda hard to drive with a bottle of vodka in you as you travel the countryside… 😉

I learned a bunch about the real Russia. I learned that Russia and Russians are just like me and just like it was as I grew up. I realized that the friends I made yesterday, will all come in helpful in a future if needed…

I also learned that you play the cards you are dealt and if you have an Ace; play it when needed…

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This is how it felt!

By the time we were done yesterday, we had packed a Niva LADA to the max and more. We had rutabagas, onions, beets, grain and assortment of various equipment, needed to raise his chicks getting ready to hatch. The Niva was sitting on her springs and the trip home was slow and easy…

That trip back gave me time to watch a whole world of Russians doing the same as we were. Many had horses and carts and they went door to door gathering potatoes and other root veggies to feed farm animals…

Yes! I was right at home and realized why I fit into Russia so well…

I just love Russia…

WtR

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