|2004-11-02 - The youth in Zyryanka
2 Nov 2004 - 17:06
Our apartment in Zyryanka. Today the temperature have risen a bit, only -23°C now. Instead there is a strong and cold southerly wind. The sky´s been blue for some days now and there´s no sign of more snow yet. Kolyma is still only partly covered with ice, despite the cold. Will it ever freeze?
Written by Johan Ivarsson, 20 years old.
´´Why do you want to move from Zyryanka when you´ve finished school?´´
´´Because Zyryanka doesn´t have a future!´´
That was one of the answers that erupted from one of the many questions we bombarded the student´s in an English class we visited earlier today.
Most students nodded in agreement.
I have to say that the classroom at the school was well equipped. The usual chalkboard on the wall with it´s usual white chalks was there. One could read today´s date in English at the top left corner of the board.
In front of that, on the catheter, there was a penholder filled with
pens and next to those, a heap of educational books were piled up. The student benches, which were placed in the shape of a horseshoe, were normal tables together with simple wooden chairs. At the back of the room, next to the only two windows, there was a wooden shelf crammed with books belonging to the teacher. Every teacher have their own classroom and this one belonged to our friend Herman. The only difference from a typical Swedish classroom was that there weren´t any computers around.
The students we visited were only 14 years old and already they had a good command of English. A fact which impressed us very much. These students still have more than three years to go before they can leave Zyryanka and study somewhere else. One of the first questions we asked was:
´´How many of you will stay in Zyryanka when you´re through with school here?´´
A question which initially was met by silence, than everybody hollered an answer. It seemed like nobody wanted to stay! The reasons were mainly these:
´´There´s no possibilities here and no jobs.´´
Others wanted to move because their parents wanted to and one girl in particular wanted to move because she thought it was to cold in Zyryanka! (By the way, according to Herman, students do not need to go to school when temperatures are below -50°C!)
In one way I can understand why they want to move from Zyryanka and this region. There seems to be very little opportunities for work, a boisterous career or an exiting future, unless they want to stay to work within the coal industry that is. Otherwise, the only possibility to find a job with a reasonable salary, and a more comfortable living, is to move away. Which I personally can understand. But, than again, since I am a person who need to live close to nature, I just couldn´t handle living in a big city where I wouldn´t be able to hunt or fish. Sometimes I wonder, if people, both young and old, here in Zyryanka fully appreciate the fantastic nature that surrounds them? The students all seem pretty surprised when we said it is with the most pristine wilderness in the world. Or maybe it is because they aren´t old enough to fully appreciate it yet?
Young people here in Zyryanka have quite a lot in common with young people back home in Sweden. They seem to have the same interests when it comes to what they do in their spare time. They meet with their friends, play games on the computer, listen to music or goes to the disco that is arranged every weekend, to dance and socialize. Many of the problems they´re experiencing are also the same as back home.
´´What they want do in the future, family problems and girlfriend/boyfriend problems.´´
This past weekend, for example, we were invited to Violetta and here family for dinner and I got to meet her son, Kirill. He was a 14 year old computer interested boy with a dream to move from Zyryanka and become a plastic surgeon. It didn´t take long until we were discussing computers and different games, and it turned out that he liked playing exactly the same games as I do (Battlefield 1942, CounterStrike and Delta force) and knew as much as I do about computers.
It is beyond doubt that the young people here in Zyryanka have many obstacles to face ahead of them. As far as I understand, there´s no possibilities for higher education, and if any jobs can be found. it often has an unreasonably low salary. Others have parents who have problems with alcohol and even here in Zyryanka, sadly enough, far away from any of the big cities, there is problems with drugs. But at the same time they definitely have far more possibilities than I hade ever believed before I came here. Most of them seem to live with a stable and loving family in a warm apartment with hot water and electricity. They have their own computer with the possibility to hook up on the internet and many seem to have the possibility to go away to study.
It seems like few of them will come back after they graduated at another school, most of them will stay in the cities and try to make their dreams come true.
I wish them all the luck!