LOADING ...

Most dangerous ways to School - OIMJAKON (Russia)

2M+ views   |   19K+ likes   |   668 dislikes   |  
Sep 05, 2015

Thumbs

Most dangerous ways to School - OIMJAKON (Russia)
Most dangerous ways to School - OIMJAKON (Russia) thumb Most dangerous ways to School - OIMJAKON (Russia) thumb Most dangerous ways to School - OIMJAKON (Russia) thumb

Transcription

  • We all know it.
  • Walked it every day, but none of them were like these.
  • The world's most dangerous ways to school.
  • Climbing, freezing, paddling for hours,
  • all for the chance of a better life.
  • Risky, spectacular and sometimes simply beautiful.
  • The world's most dangerous ways to school.
  • Siberia, endless vastness, arctic temperatures,
  • even further east than Japan and 5000 kilometers
  • North of Valdivistok lies Yakutia, Russia's coldest republic
  • in the midst of it Oymyakon, with 500 residents
  • it is the coldest inhabited place on earth.
  • The average temperature in winter minus 40 degrees Celsius.
  • Here everything ordinary becomes something special.
  • Also and especially the way to school.
  • A daily adventure trip in hostile temperatures.
  • The children of the Siberian Oymyakon have the world's
  • coldest way to school.
  • Six am, an ice cold morning in Oymyakon.
  • Irina Taric is preparing for when children get up.
  • She melts the ice from the river so her son Aljosha
  • can wash the sleep out of his eyes.
  • There is no running water at the coldest place on earth.
  • Temperatures can reach as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius,
  • water pipes would quite simply freeze,
  • so the residents fetch their fresh water
  • from the river in blocks of ice and then melt it for use.
  • Afterwards Irina checks the temperature as she does every
  • day, around minus 50 degrees again,
  • that means her son Aljosha must go to school.
  • Aljosha is eight years old, the children of his age
  • group are only excused from attending school,
  • when the temperatures dip below minus 54 degrees.
  • Even before his departure for school,
  • Aljosha feels the grim cold, with no running water,
  • the house also has no toilet,
  • so Aljosha already has to go outside to the outhouse
  • in the garden.
  • Sometimes I wouldn't mind staying inside the house.
  • Because I'm only able to take staying outside for an hour
  • at most or maybe two.
  • His mother Irina has heated up the living room
  • to about 20 degrees, so when Aljosha opens the door
  • to the outer room and afterwards the actual front door,
  • it is essentially 70 degrees colder,
  • every day life in Oymyakon.
  • In Oymyakon no one spends more time than necessary
  • out in the cold, everything, that happens outside
  • is done very efficiently, otherwise it not only becomes
  • unpleasant, but also dangerous.
  • The little Yakut rushes back into the house
  • as fast as he can.
  • Seven kilometers away, on a remote farm,
  • Aljosha's classmate Sajana is up too.
  • The family lives form their cows,
  • before going to school, Sajana must help in the stable.
  • It's relatively warm there,
  • with temperatures around freezing.
  • In Oymyakon too they say work is the best clothing.
  • Sajana, will you please bring the bucket and the stool?
  • Mom, when I'm older I will help you milk even more cows.
  • During the severe winters,
  • the family needs every helping hand in the stable,
  • the elder siblings pitch in and help with the feeding
  • and tending of the animals.
  • The family could well imagine Sajana taking over
  • the farm one day, but in truth,
  • they've known for a long time, that school is the key
  • to their youngest daughter's dreams.
  • I like animals, not only cows, but also dogs and cats.
  • That's why you'd prefer to become a vet, right?
  • Oh, yes.
  • Anyone, who wants to become a vet
  • must go to school.
  • And whoever wants to go to school and lives outside
  • the village is dependent on Gregori.
  • Gregori is the driver of the school bus,
  • the only one in Oymyakon.
  • The school supplied the 58 year old with a heated garage.
  • This luxury guarantees, that the engine fluids
  • of the bus are protected from freezing
  • and that his vehicle starts in these icy temperatures.
  • Today it is very cold again, I have to check the oil
  • and the gear box every morning.
  • It's already below minus 50 degrees.
  • That's normal, so what, that's how I do it every day.
  • After all, it's for the sake of the children's lives.
  • In order for the bus to be able to drive
  • in these extreme temperatures in the first place,
  • Gregori has taken special precautions for the bus.
  • Engine failure with children
  • on board would be very dangerous.
  • Therefore the 58 year old uses blankets as insulation
  • for all the damageable sensitive cables
  • this is supposed to protect the bus against
  • the extreme cold during nine long winter months.
  • Gregori keeps warm by listening to the radio
  • turned up loudly, indeed, all the time.
  • Some of the students are bugged by Gregori's loud radio,
  • but there is no way to avoid it,
  • the children living on the farms outside the village
  • are dependent on the bus driver.
  • Most households have no car of their own.
  • Back to Aljosha, after half an hour on the stove,
  • the water from the river is warm enough
  • for the daily spit bath.
  • In the Yakutian part of Siberia,
  • there are almost no jobs, without a school leaving
  • certificate, the chances of finding a good job are poor.
  • ALjosha's mother knows this, that's why she sends
  • her children to school.
  • Only her youngest son may stay at home today.
  • The kindergarten remains closed at temperatures
  • below minus 48 degrees Celsius.
  • On her parents farm seven kilometers away from Oymyakon,
  • Sajana's and her family's work in the stable is now done.
  • Breakfast, there's fish, eggs and warm porridge
  • made of bread, milk and sugar.
  • A warm high energy meal.
  • Sajana has older siblings, who will soon have to catch
  • the bus to school as well.
  • Hurry up with your breakfast,
  • make sure you don't miss that bus.
  • The family's farm is so remote,
  • that the school bus cannot pick up Sajana
  • and her brothers directly.
  • The three of them still have to walk quite a way
  • through the icy cold, their mother, Shigina,
  • wraps her daughter in four different layers of clothes,
  • on top of which she wears another two jackets.
  • As well as two pairs of gloves, a cap and a thick hood.
  • Often Sajana wears so many clothes,
  • that she is unable to dress or undress by herself.
  • The student Aljosha should also make no mistake,
  • when dressing for his way to school.
  • And relies on the layering method as well.
  • Like the other children in Oymyakon,
  • the eight year old has a special outfit solely for school.
  • Over his sweater, Aljosha is wearing a shirt and a jacket.
  • He also wears six layers of clothing including the warm
  • jacket made of wool and fur.
  • His mother Irina covers every exposed inch of his skin.
  • In Oymyakon, frostbite is not uncommon.
  • Aljosha walks quickly, when he is on his way,
  • only for a short moment, a very special one
  • does he take his time.
  • He hears his nasal mucus membrane crackle,
  • as it freezes in his sinuses within split seconds.
  • The moisture immediately formed little icicles
  • on his eyelashes.
  • High time to get going on his way to school,
  • which is about one kilometer long.
  • A worried mother stays behind.
  • We only survive here, because we're used to it.
  • But below 55, 56 degrees, I don't let them leave the house.
  • Around minus 60 it's too dangerous,
  • we then don't go out at all.
  • Today it is three degrees warmer,
  • than Irina's limit of minus 55 degrees,
  • much to Aljosha's delight,
  • because he doesn't like the days,
  • where is not allowed out at all.
  • In spite of the cold, Aljosha really likes
  • his way to school.
  • I like my way to school, because it's on foot,
  • running is great fun.
  • Aljosha likes to doddle and sometimes
  • even makes a few detours despite
  • his parents strict instructions.
  • Meanwhile the school bus still struggles along the ram
  • shackle streets of Yakutia.
  • Gregori needs to pick up nearly 50 children today.
  • And take them to school.
  • Once Gregori fell I'll, more than a third
  • of the students missed class, if the bus breaks down
  • yet again, it is dangerous for everybody
  • and this happens often in the coldest place on earth.
  • If it's that cold, the oil and the petrol
  • can freeze, everything working on fluids can freeze.
  • Then I have to warm it up somehow.
  • Otherwise the bus won't start.
  • The streets around Oymyakon are in poor condition.
  • Every pothole can become a trap out here.
  • In the case of an engine breakdown,
  • Gregori has 30 minutes until the temperature
  • inside the car reaches the outside temperature
  • of minus 50 degrees.
  • The only bus driver far and wide is aware
  • of his special responsibility,
  • carefully he steers the bus around the largest holes.
  • Out here, broken axles are not uncommon.
  • At these temperatures, shock absorbers quickly freeze
  • and become hard and stiff, but in Yakutia,
  • a car is a new phenomenon.
  • The Siberians have always banked on their natural
  • resources, which are independent of technology,
  • which is sensitive to the cold.
  • Rain deer, this deer species is an important part
  • of life in Yakutia.
  • On the one hand, rain deer are a fat rich food.
  • On the other hand, they serve as work animals
  • pulling the sleigh.
  • And where there are no cars yet, they are also used
  • as a riding animal.
  • The domestication of the rain deer has helped
  • the Oymyakoni for centuries and the struggle
  • against the icy cold.
  • The reason for these extreme sub zero temperatures
  • lies in the unique geographical position of Yakutia.
  • Mountain ranges close the little village off
  • from the warm air streams coming from the west
  • and the south, on the other hand, the door to the arctic
  • is wide open, icy streams of air press forward unhindered.
  • In Oymyakon, winter lasts from October until April.
  • The old time record low temperature, minus 71 degrees
  • Celsius, recorded in 2013 by the local meteorologist.
  • During the summer months in June, July,
  • on the other hand it might even get as hot
  • as 30 degrees, the villagers, however,
  • take rather more pride in low temperature records.
  • To go to school in these ice cold temperatures
  • is daily routine for the children in Oymyakon,
  • it's high time for Sajana to get going.
  • SAjana's siblings always join her, her parents forbid her
  • to walk this way alone, their fear of her freezing to death
  • on her way is too great.
  • For us this cold has become normal by now,
  • I too had to go to school under these conditions.
  • Sajana is still very young, but considering her age,
  • she knows quite well how to deal with the cold.
  • And the older ones help the younger ones.
  • That reassures me a bit.
  • Like nearly all children, Sajana goes marching
  • to school, but it's not solely due to the cold.
  • Under no circumstances may she miss the bus.
  • It would in fact be better to be there a few minutes early,
  • because the bus only comes once and does not wait.
  • Without taking to look at them, the three of them
  • meet creatures, which only exit here
  • above the arctic circle, wild horses.
  • With especially thick skin, they run free
  • and can cope with temperatures down to minus 70 degrees.
  • Unlike the rain deer, horses are not work animals
  • in Oymyakon and it wouldn't occur to anyone to ride them,
  • horse meat is a delicacy here and exercise would make
  • the meat tough.
  • By now the bus has done more than half of its tour.
  • Several children have been picked up and it's three
  • more kilometers to Sajana's home.
  • But then Gregori is in trouble.
  • Something's wrong.
  • One of the rear wheels won't turn anymore.
  • That happens quite often I'm afraid,
  • these are old tires, they spin, this definitely
  • wouldn't happen with new ones.
  • If the bus gets stuck out here,
  • there is a serious problem, Oymyakon is four kilometers
  • away, nobody will come to their aid.
  • Gregori must fix the bus by himself,
  • otherwise it may quickly become dangerous.
  • Just last week someone wanted to drive
  • to the neighboring village Tomtur.
  • His fuel indicator was inaccurate,
  • he hadn't checked it, his car ran out of fuel out here.
  • Had he not got as far as here, he might have been able
  • to walk back, well, he died.
  • Sajana isn't aware of any of this.
  • With hurried steps, she trudges to the meeting point
  • through the snow.
  • Sajana doesn't know, that the bus had a breakdown.
  • She might've just as easily have missed it.
  • The only thing she can do is hope and wait
  • for the school bus at minus 52 degrees.
  • I hope the bus is still coming or I won't be able
  • to go to school.
  • A few minutes, the eight year old
  • can afford to wait in the cold,
  • then she must quickly return home.
  • Her destination, the school is seven kilometers away
  • on the northern edge of the forest,
  • the pride and joy of the town of 500 residents.
  • Here, 25 teachers educate 118 students.
  • The school principle Katarina Yuvkovia
  • lives across the street.
  • At a quarter to eight, she is the first
  • to enter the building.
  • This is the only school here, for the children
  • living in this area it is the only chance
  • to receive an education.
  • The school with its 25 classrooms
  • is the largest building in Oymyakon,
  • therefore it is also the most difficult to keep warm.
  • We have central district heating here,
  • which only heats this school and a few more private houses.
  • a small coal fired power plant
  • heats six buildings via district heating round the clock
  • with the help of 20 tons of brown coal per year.
  • All the houses in Oymyakon are built of wood,
  • like the school, any other material would burst
  • with the differences in temperature of over 100 degrees
  • between winter and summer.
  • The structure of the houses is similar everywhere,
  • an unheated outer room serves as a lock and store room.
  • Then comes the heating room, the fireplace,
  • followed by a room, which is used as a living
  • and dining room, and behind that lie the bedrooms.
  • In order for the house to remain warm,
  • the Oymyakons fill up every gap however small
  • with poly urethane foam, but the cold comes in
  • at some point anyway, always.
  • Aljosha's father has to heat the house nine months
  • nonstop in order to keep it warm somehow.
  • My parents, my grandparents and my great great
  • grandparents have lived here.
  • And so we live here too, I like living
  • in harmony with nature.
  • In order to live in harmony with the extreme
  • cold, one has to constantly be on the alert,
  • even when performing very ordinary tasks.
  • Irina cannot let the freshly washed laundry
  • dry in the house, the risk is too great,
  • that the moisture will cause
  • the beams of the house to split.
  • At the coldest place on earth, the laundry always dries
  • in the garden.
  • Within seconds, the water is frozen
  • and the laundry as stiff as a board.
  • At least the wash is free of germs,
  • the low temperatures immediately kill any germs.
  • But Aljosha's father is also aware of many disadvantages
  • of the cold, especially when people get careless.
  • Many people here drink and it's happened often,
  • that they fall asleep in the snow.
  • They don't notice, that they're freezing to death,
  • already at temperatures around minus 20,
  • the extremities start to die off.
  • A few years ago a friend of his froze to death
  • in the middle of the village.
  • One's worries become even greater,
  • if your eight year old happens to be a cheeky kid,
  • in spite of the icy temperatures,
  • he is full of nonsense, just as any other child
  • his age would be.
  • He especially likes to scare the cattle on their way
  • to the water hall.
  • He takes no notice of the special clothes
  • the thick skinned cows are wearing.
  • As a shield against the cold,
  • their owner has strapped a sort of special bra
  • around their udders, a braw made of nylon stockings
  • protects the most sensitive parts of their bodies
  • from frostbite.
  • Sajana has been waiting for more than 15 minutes already,
  • but still no bus in sight, if it doesn't arrive soon,
  • she will have to return home.
  • 400 meters away, north of the clearing,
  • Sajana's father performs his daily duties.
  • The firewood doesn't have to dry after it's been chopped.
  • Due to the icy cold, it is become so brittle,
  • one blow is enough to break it.
  • And Sajana's father needs a lot of wood,
  • more than 60 cubic meters is burned
  • by each inhabitant on average every winter,
  • that adds up to five truck loads.
  • We live here and work here, without the work
  • one cannot survive and whoever doesn't work dies.
  • Of course it's cold, life can be tough here sometimes,
  • but then you just have to work harder.
  • Sometimes we work for sheer survival,
  • what more can I say?
  • If it's extremely cold, I simply cannot allow my children
  • to run around outside, then they have to stay inside,
  • play computer games or watch TV.
  • The only way they're allowed to walk
  • is their way to school anyway.
  • For Sajana's parents, moving away
  • from Oymyakon is out of the question.
  • They decided a long time ago to live in the coldest place
  • on earth, but Sajana should make her own decision
  • and that is only possible, if she goes to school
  • and graduates.
  • Like many other parents in Oymyakon,
  • they put Gregori in charge of that.
  • As so often, the bus driver uses all available means
  • to get his bus going again and to escape from the cold.
  • Giving it a lot of gas and a little bit of luck
  • he manages.
  • But now it's shortly before eight o clock, the break down
  • cost him almost a quarter of an hour.
  • It is quite possible, that many children
  • won't be waiting at the agreed meeting points anymore.
  • But Sajana has held out, just in time Gregor picks up
  • the freezing eight year old.
  • The school bus, on the hand it's the only way
  • to get to school, on the other, an unpopular necessity.
  • The school bus is the worst thing, it's always loud,
  • dirty and too hot in there.
  • Aljosha has been on his way for half an hour
  • already, even though he can make it to school
  • in a good 20 minutes.
  • But the lure to take the detour across the frozen river
  • in the morning was too great,
  • now the nine year old is freezing.
  • Within a short time, the bitter cold always finds its way
  • through all six layers of clothes.
  • The ice beneath Aljosha's feet is up to four meters
  • thick in some places, in winter, cars and Gregori's school
  • bus use the river as a short cut.
  • For the boy, the river bed is always a place
  • to discover new things, because the Indigieka,
  • that's what the Oymyakons call the river,
  • although frozen is still alive.
  • Four times a year, a truck from Yakuck,
  • which is 700 kilometers away delivers canned
  • and vacuum packed food.
  • Apart from this, the residents of Oymyakon
  • live self sufficiently.
  • In every season of the year, the river provides
  • stable food, such as fish.
  • In winter time, the river Indigieka is the hunting ground
  • for ice anglers, using their fishing rods and nets,
  • they provide the basic food supply of the whole village.
  • They wait for hours with their nets.
  • Then they grab the fish out of the nets
  • with their bare hands.
  • The water, which is zero degrees doesn't bother them,
  • what does bother them, though is the air temperature
  • of minus 50 degrees.
  • The ice fisherman don't have to kill the fish,
  • within seconds, the animals are shock frozen.
  • The ice fisherman probably have the coldest job here
  • in Oymyakon, that's not for Aljosha.
  • One day he wants to create something and see the world.
  • I'd like nothing better than to become and architect,
  • build houses.
  • That's why I attend school.
  • Whenever he doesn't feel like going to school
  • and taking on the icy way to get there,
  • Aljosha remembers his dream,
  • the last few meters and he's made it, he is at school.
  • Frozen stiff he reached the school building
  • at a quarter past eight.
  • Aljosha is a bit early, but there are already many
  • children there, all those children, who arrive on foot
  • arrange enough time to thaw after their way to school.
  • The best way is to play around.
  • ALjosha's teacher prepares for her class.
  • Half of the seats are still vacant,
  • but in the coldest place on earth,
  • nobody is able to skip class.
  • If it's that cold outside, the parents
  • may decide for themselves whether they send
  • their children to school or not.
  • But if the children don't turn up
  • without informing the school
  • and having an excuse, we must definitely call
  • and ask what has happened.
  • The risk of a child freezing to death
  • on his or her way to school is too high.
  • By now the bus is full to bursting point.
  • It's loud, stuffy, but at least it's not cold.
  • After the more than two hour drive,
  • Gregori finally drives the crammed bus up to school.
  • Sajana is happy to have arrived
  • and Gregori can take a break until school ends at two pm.
  • It's exactly half past eight, Sajana arrives
  • in the nick of time with the school bell ringing.
  • Today all children are more or less punctual
  • and lessons start.
  • Five hours lie ahead of the children,
  • math, biology, history and Russian.
  • Aljosha and Sajana are Yakuts,
  • they're language is based on their Turkish
  • and Mongolian roots.
  • The Yakutian language has little to do with Russian
  • and so the children have to learn Russian
  • almost as a foreign language, at least if they want
  • to leave this forbidden place at some point in time.
  • Sajana stands a fair chance, she is a straight A student
  • and top of her class.
  • Aljosha is talented, but not very hard working.
  • My favorite classes are history and math.
  • But to be honest, I come here to play and paint
  • and meet my friends.
  • After the first two lessons,
  • it's time for the main break.
  • The students storm into the cafeteria.
  • In cold Siberia there is traditionally a second breakfast
  • for the children.
  • Warm noodles and hot tea,
  • essential for the increased energy needs.
  • Afterwards they all stay in the building,
  • no one wants to go out in the school yard,
  • for this, the children would first of all
  • need to put various layers of clothing,
  • that's too cumbersome, takes too long
  • and it's simply too damn cold outside.
  • The play equipment in the yard is used
  • only during three months of the year,
  • however, they are designed in such a way,
  • that they can withstand even the coldest winter on earth.
  • If no one comes to the garden,
  • the garden must go to the students.
  • A few green plants provide for a little wellness oasis.
  • Apart from that, the students pass the time playing
  • board games, the school rifle is also very popular
  • with the boys.
  • The children learn how to disassemble a real gun
  • and put it back together again.
  • The quicker they learn how to do this,
  • the earlier their fathers will take them hunting.
  • Since the children can't really let off steam
  • inside the building, there are gym exercises
  • at the beginning of the third lesson.
  • Sajana and Aljosha are in Russian class right now.
  • This time the students were asked to learn
  • a whole poem by heart.
  • Sajana worked hard and knows all the verses perfectly.
  • School ends at two pm, while the children from nearby
  • start off on their cold foot walk back home,
  • the school bus children wait for Gregori
  • and his ram shackled bus in the school building,
  • where it's nice and warm.
  • Often the students can hear him before they see him,
  • quite simply because of the loud music.
  • Afterwards, all of them just want to get into the warm bus.
  • Aljosha enjoys the first part of the way walking
  • with a friend.
  • Then he's on his own again, despite the extreme cold,
  • his desire to move about is not in the least bit exhausted.
  • Aljosha does what all children of the world do
  • on their way home, he makes up his own games.
  • Again, the eight year old doddles on his way,
  • but mom and dad know their son and also know
  • when they have to start worrying.
  • Now he's fully warmed up,
  • he won't be coming home that quickly now.
  • But he's well wrapped up, he wants stay outside and play,
  • but his games never last very long.
  • Nevertheless, ALjosha's father
  • always feels a bit of relief,
  • when he sees his son come in through the garden gate.
  • Sajana made it through the drive back with Gregori's
  • school bus, before doing her homework,
  • she helps her mother in the kitchen,
  • the two are very close, spend a lot of time together.
  • No wonder, friends from school rarely come over
  • to play at the farm, because they must take the bus.
  • And have to stay the night.
  • Aljosha and his brothers turn the living room
  • into a playground, the three of them have a great
  • time together, their favorite game is playing bus or car.
  • I prefer summer.
  • Then I could play outside longer.
  • Sajana's siblings are too old to be playing
  • with her, most of the time she spends with her homework
  • or coloring books.
  • There's not much else to do for her in the coldest
  • place on earth.
  • At school there are many children,
  • at home it is so boring, at school it's different.
  • And my siblings are always just sitting
  • in front of their computers.
  • At seven pm it's time for eight year old
  • Aljosha to go to bed, the next day the thermometer
  • will decide whether he must get up early again,
  • whether they will once again have to set out
  • on one of the most dangerous ways to school on earth.

Download subtitle

Description

Siberia. Endless vastness – arctic temperatures. Even farther East than Japan and 5 000 kilometres north of Vladivostok lies Yakutia, the coldest Republik of Russia. Yakutsk is the capital of the Yakutia Republic and is located about 5100 kilometres east of Moscow. In the midst of it: Oimjakon. With its 500 residents the coldest inhabited place on earth. This village lies in a mountain valley on the upper reaches of the banks of the Indgirka River. One of the major reasons for the freezing temperatures is the great distance from the Atlantic Ocean and the humidity that the Ocean provides to a major part of the Northern Hemisphere. Masses of mountains shield Siberia against the warm air from the west and south, while in the opposite direction, the door to the Artic stands wide open. Thus in the winter, cold masses of air expand into the Siberian landscape completely unrestricted.

The average temperature in winter: Minus 40° Celsius. The children of the Siberian Oimjakon have the world`s coldest way to school. The extreme living conditions are completely normal for the residents of Oymyakon. This is also true for the Tariks family and their son Aljosha. He is 8 years old. The children of his age group are only excused from attending school on account of the cold at temperatures below minus 54° degrees.

Even before his departure for school Aljosha feels the grim cold. Lacking running water the house also has no bathroom. So Aljosha alredy has to go outside – to the unheated outside earth closet in the garden. Sascha’s mother cooks tea. In order to do so, she must go to outside to the front of the house, which is made of wood- as all houses in Oymyakon. Due to the great temperature differences here, concrete walls would soon crack and be destroyed. In the short summers, it can get quite warm in Oymyakon. In front of the wooden house the ice blocks are stored. The next-door farmer had cut out of the frozen river for them. There is no running water in the Pole of Cold, with temperatures dropping to -65 degrees Celsius; no pipe work has a chance. Aljoshas mother puts the ice in the pot and cooks some tea for her son.

Like every day, Aljosha must get ready to go to school. Like the majority of the other students, Sascha wears for the most part his traditional dress. The clothing prescribes to the onion-peel principle in order to protect the students from the Artic temperatures. His mother Irina has heated up the living room to 20° degrees. So when Aljosha opens the front door it is 70° degrees colder – every day life in Oimjakon. As soon as the children open the dormitory’s double doors, the icy cold brutally grabs hold of them. Within less than one second their nostrils become frozen.

Unlike the students in other parts of the world, the children from Oymyakon are seldom playful but instead very concentrated on their way to school. With quick steps, they travel in groups, attempting to put the 2 kilometer route behind them as quickly as possible. There are no signs of snow ball fights. The don’t spend a second of time watching the cows, which are kept up to nine months of the year in their stalls, and are now coincidentally being lead out of the barn for a drink. Even though the cows are wearing some sort of special “bras” which protect their udders from freezing.

Once in school building, Aljosha and the other students remove many of their layers of clothing, and get going with the school lessons. For the majority of them, a welcome diversion from the coldest inhabited town on the earth.