Team II, February 14-25, 2004

   A winter road is a road also. Under the accompaniment of the monotonous tapping of spinning wheels and cracking wood in the hot burning stove, we are led to the parallel world of sorcerers, house spirits and forest masters. The snow clearly squeaks under our tireless feet. The new snowflakes slowly come down to the earth from the milky white sky covering our footprints. A broom with which we sweep the snow from our boots (before crossing a cherished threshold) “guards” every door in a peasant log house. Maybe a gray hear witch or a funny tailor or a skillful lace maker lives inside this threshold.

We have an honor to invite you in our February expedition. The work of this team will be mainly focused on three basic programs:

1) Rituals: the Shrovetide (the ancient ritual for chasing out the Winter) (February, 22)
2) Russian mythological stories (house and nature spirits) 
3) Working with an authentic folk chorus of Yelnia distcrict, Smolensk province

We will have an expedition documenting the Shrovetide holiday (the ancient ritual for chasing out the Winter) with its traditional songs, pancakes, fires and burning down the ritual doll -http://www.scn.org/russfolk/maslenitsa.htm
The itinerary of our February expedition will take place in the small town of Yelnia and nearby villages (Smoilensk province).

For those who are interested in winter expeditions we will be happy to offer an essay of Anna Berman, a student from Brown University participated in one of our winter teams – please, click here for the winter report.

The detailed itinerary is provided at the bottom of this page.

Rendezvous informationOur staging area is Moscow. Volunteers will rendezvous in Moscow: 
February, 14, 2004 (Saturday) 
at the Electronic Arrivals Information Desk at Sheremetievo-2 Moscow airport at 3 p. m. 
Stores are available to volunteers before they go into the field. There is always time for volunteers to exchange money and shop for necessities before we leave for the field. After arriving we will transfer you to a simple hostel where you will spend your first night. 
On the next day we will all depart for our study area by train. We do have dinner on the train. 
In case of early arrival, volunteers should contact Yelena and Sergey Minyonok in Moscow at (095) 952-6583. Volunteers who arrive early are responsible for their own food and accommodations.

Departure 
Volunteers should plan their departures from Sheremetievo-2, Moscow Airport: 
February, 25, 2004 (Wednesday) 
We will be back in Moscow for the night before the set departure day. Volunteers will spend that night in Moscow, in a small hostel, departing the next day. Please, if possible, plan your departure after 10:00 a.m., Moscow time. Taxis at night in Moscow are very expensive and the group leaders in that case would be unable to accompany the volunteers because of these transportation problems. The morning of departure, a single bus will be arranged to take the team to the airport, in time to catch the earliest flight. We can always help with alternative transport arrangements but these must be at your own expense. 
We are not a tourist agency, but if time is available, we will be happy to help you plan a longer stay in Moscow or elsewhere. Volunteers who decide to stay later are responsible for their own food and accommodations. 
Please pay close attention to the dates on your visa. Usually our invitation includes the week before the project starts and an additional week after it ends. If you would like to stay longer please contact our staff members at vsem@cityline

Itinerary 
February, 14 - arrival in Moscow, registration, hostel. 
February, 15 - departure from Moscow to Smolensk by train, arrival to Yelnia town 
February, 16 - recording of folklore songs from Yelnia chorus 
February, 17 - interviews with villagers about Russian mythology in Yelnia town and nearby villages 
February, 18 - recording of folklore songs from Yelnia chorus 
February, 19 - A visit to the country-side museum estate of Glinka’s family - “Novospasskoie”
February, 20 – recording of folklore songs from Yelnia chorus
February, 21 - interviews about Russian mythology in Yelnia town and nearby villages 
February, 22 – recording of folklore songs from Yelnia chorus and other nearby folk groups 
February, 23 – interviews about a local variant of wedding rituals
February, 24 - departure from Yelnia town to Smolensk, departure from Smolensk to Moscow 
February, 25 - departure from Moscow 
his February we invite you with us to a Winter Russian Village. We will participate in the holidays of the Shrovetide (the ancient ritual for chasing out the Winter) with its traditional songs, fires and burning down the ritual doll.

University
of Alberta
Dr. Natalie
Kononenko
University of
Wisconsin Dr.
James Bailey
University of
Colorado at
Boulder Dr.
Laura Olson
University of
Kentucky
Dr. Rouhier-
Willoughby