Saturday, 27 June 2009

Return to Turov

In true Belarussian style, one minute we were enjoying a free buffet in Minsk and before we knew it we were in a minibus at dawn heading back to Turov (if you missed earlier posts we lived there for a month in May). A good opportunity to see how things looked on the 1st and new APB (BirdLife Belarus) reserve 'Turov Meadow' since we left it in May.

This is the now nearly famous Terek Sandpiper monument in the main square (this photo is for the attention of the British Embassy in Minsk... more like this please).

All seemed normal in Turov with people heading out to cut hay to feed their animals through the

But strange forces were at work. Coca Cola had sponsored a camp to use local kids to clear up the mass of plastic bottles that can usually be seen on the reserve. Good chance to educate local youngsters on waste and maybe try to publicise the case for better waste collection for the area. The previously mentioned soft drinks company gets a LOT of good PR for very little actual donation, its a great start but perhaps they could be rnvouraged to think bigger (bigger bucks$$).

Here the fizzy drinks giants explain their undying commitments to environmental harmony ...and positive publicity to Director of APB Viktar Fenchuk and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' Mark Day. Mark was making a short film for the RSPB about Turov Meadow. What the area needs here is Ecotourism and local projects to provide some income through traditional crafts, accommodation etc. so that young people stay in the villages and people maintain their way of life and the land around them. To do that the infrastructure has to improve a bit and the RSPB is trying to help that happen in a sustainable way. Come to Turov and see!

Kids trying to get a big catfish or a pike - apparently fishing is on the slide and most people go home with just a few tiddlers. The drainage further up the river causes quicker, faster flood times which doesn'thelp fish breeding. There's also a lot of illegal fishing with nets strewn all over the place.

These examples are being cured. Not everyone's cup of tea but probably good with chips.

Little tern nest.

Summer gets colourful on the meadow.

This is the bridge that never was. Doesn't look much but this was going to connect villages across the Pripyat as crossing points are few and far between. Nicknamed the million rouble bridge (which is about 250 pounds) and now a handy fishing platform..... for teenage girls in this case. Not a sight you see every day in Britain.

Explaining to the neighbour why our garden is a mess and everyone else's are full of veg. Soil around these parts is classed as the best in Belarus - it's 100% and everything else is something less. They're big on cucumbers particularly.

At least our garden provides some good grazing for other people.

Our street (Sovietskaya), now free of water in mid-June.

Most people work with horses and plough their land that way, but for those that can afford it, the Belarussian tractor is a very popular one. They are never, ever, dirty.

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