The choice of living place depends on the number of volunteers in a team. If our team is small, we plan to live in a peasant house (with or without a hostess). There is enough room for three or four persons. If the number of volunteers in a team is more than four we may stay in a boarding school or in two houses. Beds and bedding are provided by our hosts but you should bring your own sheets and pillowcases.

    Electricity will be available wherever we go. The majority of peasant houses have bottled gas and refrigerators. There are no hot showers in Russian villages. But many houses have a Russian saunas called a banya where we will wash. The bath-house is a separate wooden house, clean inside. There is a stove and tanks with water. The fire warms the water and stones on the stove. When a person waters the stones, the steam is produced. A wooden house (Smolensk province). Photo Maria RohdeThe Russian bath-houses are very useful for the vascular system, the circulatory system and joints. In Russia bath-houses treat rheumatism, arthritis, colds and many other diseases. Beginners should wait until the heat of the room has cooled.     We hope to enjoy this very Russian experience twice a week. In addition, volunteers can heat their own water for washing and for laundry on the gas stoves in the houses where we will be staying.Bathing house - bania (Kaluga province). Photo Margo Bowman             

The main discomfort of life in Russian villages is the pit-toilets. This is a wooden “thunder-box” with a door situated at the bottom of the garden. Users have to stand or squat at the open latrine. As explained elsewhere in this briefing, running water is seldom available in the villages.

A wooden house (Smolensk province). Photo Maria Rohde    We plan to live and work in one and the same place; that is why the distance between a place of living and the place of working will be small. We may also make one-day reconnaissance visits in neighboring villages. Distances between these villages and our place of living will be from 2 to 7 kilometers (0,5 - 4 miles). We will go to neighboring villages on foot.