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If only fellows from all around the world….
The next international camping trip.

On the weekend, September 25-26, the Center for Interethnic Cooperation organized an international camping trip. About 20 young people from the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, German and Jewish youth organizations, and the Moscow Psychological-Pedagogical University went into the woods close to the train station Anikeevka in the Krasnogork region on Saturday morning.

We were lucky with the weather. Up to the weekend there was constantly pouring rain and the weather was cold. On Saturday to our surprise the sun peeped out from behind the clouds. In the morning we all gathered at the metro station “Tushino”. Then we took the elektrichka (stopping train) to the station “Anikeevka”, further we walked a whole hour to the place which was supposed to be our camp. As on the previous camping trip, again our guide was Aleksei Kolganov, leader of the Jewish youth organization. He found the perfect clearing in the pine forest, which was next to a small pond.

Raimund Elfering

On Saturday, September 25, a camping trip was organized in a forest near Moscow. It was told to be a short walk from Anikeevka station. Actually we walked an hour, but it was worth making the effort: We found an idyllic glade with a pond nearby, although the civilization was still perceptible (Sheremеt’evo airport was nearby). Our group, members of the CIEC, a German and a Hebrew Youth group from Moscow and students from the Ethno-Psychological institute, was very agile. We got to know each other while collecting wood, having a barbecue at the campfire and playing a lot a lot of games. Although we had much luck with the weather - the Indian summer returned perhaps for a last time - most of us went home for the night. Beside me, Ashot, Marina, fellow at the Ethno-psychological institute, and Serena, intern at the Russian-German House, stayed for the night. We kept warm sitting at the campfire, drinking tea and vodka (who liked, “since we live in a democracy!”). After an uncomfortable night in a two-person tent, we continued the procedure at the campfire. Finally, we went back to the mega-polis Moscow again. A nice farewell to the Russian summer!

Sebastian Hoepfner

Trip into the forest: My second Pokhod in Russia.

Preparation for the trip started on Wednesday the 22nd of September. Lots of people from different youth groups gathered at the office of the Center of Interethnic Cooperation. They represented the Russian-German youth group “Jugendbruecke”, a Jewish youth organization and a tartar youth group. To complement the list Marina must be named as representing the faculty of ethnic Psychology from the Pedagogic-Psychology University, Moscow. The first plan brought in by the director of our organization, Ashot Airepetian, was rejected by most of the attending people. He thought of staying over night in the forest. But the weather forecast influenced the decision of the meetings’ participants negative. Finally everyone agreed to meet at Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. (a courageous suggestion was about 10:30 a.m.), at the Tushinskaja metro station. At 11:30 a.m. on Saturday morning most of our trip members had arrived. The last errands were run (water and bread), and the tickets were bought. The plan was that we would take the Elektrichka, which will bring us to a stop about ten - twenty minutes out of Moscow; there we would undertake a walking-tour of 2-3 kilometers. In reality the Elektrichka took 15 minutes to bring us to the station but the walking took about an hour. For some of us it was a really enjoying tour, the pleasant landscape of Russian forests, the cozy motorway crossing, our steps through the woodland and the sunny weather, which finally turned out to be. For others, it was a hard work out session, carrying bags, which weight around 30 kilograms and this for almost an hour. Aleksey guided the group. He, leader of the Jewish youth organization, had also guided the group to the camp at the last Ethno-Festival-Trip. He proofed his high professional abilities again and found an awesome place at a clearance, surrounded by a small pond, which itself was surrounded by a well-known friend of those folks who were already on the ethno-festival Pokhod: Mud.

Beginning with building up the only tent to spend the night in, unpacking the most important things like food and drinks, the activities started. During the tent’s construction I wondered why Ashot first of all wanted to erect the tent’s roof. “That’s a Russian one” I got as an answer. OK.

In the meantime the girls (most of our company were women) prepared the picnic. Every group brought their own food. Now everything was put together. Even a grilled chicken could be found on the improvised table (in fact it was plastic tarpaulin). After having lunch we needed firewood to alight the campfire and the guys spread out to pick up the valuable good. On the previous days it had rained, the sky was cloudy, and everything seemed to be gray. As a result the ground was not yet pulpy, but one could observe single puddles and slops.

We broke young branches from the trees not far away from our camping spot; meanwhile the youth started playing their games. The goal was get to know each other, while most of the guys already knew each other. As on two Fridays of the past weeks we, the volunteers of the CIC (Patrizia, Raimund und Sebastian), assisted the weekly meetings of the Russian-German youth group: “Jugendbruecke”.

But the games were a good pastime and we got much to laugh.

After a while Ashot made us play his favorite game. People are divided into pairs. They’ve got three minutes to get to know each other. It seemed to me that it runs in the blood of Russian to speak frankly in front of the audience. Finally the Germans came off worse not only because of the lack of sufficient Russian skills. Only Raimund could save the German honor.

Another highlight of the trip was the meal Ashot prepared for dinner. It contained ground meat, sauce and other ingredients, which I’m not able to recall anymore.

So the day passed, slowly it got dark and cold in the woods. We gathered around the fire and started to play a game, which is called Mafia. It turned out to be too difficult in its original version, but the edited version couldn’t convince either. Conversations started among the folks and that was the relaxing part of the Pokhod.

At about 9 p.m. most people headed towards the train station back to Moscow.

Raimund, Ashot, Serena and Marina stayed.

I liked the way back. The air was fresh and you could see the stars. I walked with Patrizia and a Russian girl named Renata. They had a very interesting discussion about Russian political history. While they renew the past decades in Russia, I wandered beside them.

We didn’t have to wait much time for the train. The platform was deserted as the train got in.

Patrizia Vesco

The pakhod was a very interesting and enjoyable day (for most of us it was only one day, since the sun didn’t help to much against the cold). One thing that was especially interesting for the foreigners among us was that we learned that Russian tents are build up the exact opposite way than ours. One has to start with the outer layer and then continue with the inner part. We were told that this is the normal way Russians build their houses: “they start with the roof and then do the rest!”

The mixture of different young people was very interesting and it is easy to learn about ethnical differences in a nice place with campfire, nature and good food. All in all we got to know each other in a pleasant way - and if it would have been summer I’m sure more would have stayed over night.

© 1993-2003

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