|2005-03-14 - Elena - the first female...
Elena - the first female trapper
13 Mar, 05 - 20:17
GPS-pos: N68°27´ | E158°00´ | Alt: 3 M
We´ve made our way into a tiny logcabin belonging to Chuckchi reindeer herders. It´s located at N 68°27´49.9 and E 158°00´46.3. It´s Sunday the 13th and today a mere 5 Chuckchi reindeer herders began moving, by ski, a herd of 1400 reindeers from their winter feeding in the taiga onto their summer feeding on the tundra. 200-300 km;s north of here. We, ourselves, have put another 40 km;s of tiresome slogging behind us the last three days. However, we´re getting closer to the rest in Kolymskaya!
´´I´m really just helping my strong husband´´, Elena explains at the same time she smiles lovingly at him, ´´and I join him when he checks the snares and traps which are closest to the house.´´
Pavel, Elena´s husband, smiles softly whilst he´s skillfully skinning another of the 15 musk rats he´s caught during the day.
´´Huh, I don´t like rats´´, Elena says, ´´but since their furs pay relatively well, we need them.´´
Elena and Pavel belong to a younger generation they most trappers we´ve come across so far. They´re both 35 years of age. They´re full of joy and seems satisfied with life.
´´I worked as a laboratory assistant in Cherskii for a few years after finishing my university studies in Yakutsk´´ , she continues telling me, ´´but since there´s no future in this region anymore, I quit that job when I met Pavel. I moved out here to Syraktahk. Life´s much more relaxed and healthy out here. Even though it´s a struggle getting ends meet up.´´
Syraktahk is nothing more than three small logcabins in the middle of the vast and untouched taiga, far from the so called civilization. There´s a major difference staying over at a hunters cabin run by a woman. It´s lots cleaner, more cozy and comfortable and there´s a bigger variety of food available.
´´We heard about you long ago on the radio, I think it was in the beginning of February´´ ,she tells us at the same time as she´s listening to the communication radio, which is one of the major sources of entertainment for all trappers along the Kolyma, ´´and we were sure you´ve passed here two weeks ago, but it´s great you show up now. There´s a long time since we had someone to talk to.´´
In comparison to the male trappers we´ve come across so far, Elena´s interested in every single photo we have in our small photo albums. Photos of our family, our own hunting and the areas where we´re from. And she´s interested in where we´re from and thinks our equipment is awesome. A fact none of the males never would admit! It is refreshing in many ways to meet Elena and for once we talk about other this than the size of moose antlers, rathunting and looking a sobelfurs. She´s also one of Very few which has anything positive to say about post-perestroika time of today.
´´Even if I think the Soviet time was much better, at lea t we are free to express whatever we feel today´´ ,she says, ´´and during the Soviets there´s only one thing of everything to buy in shops. One dress, one handbag and so on. The selection today is much bigger and more exiting, even though Most of us don´t have the money to buy any of it.´´