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Rahul Kharbanda Group

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Jeremiah Hall
Jeremiah Hall

Russian Tiny Teens

KAZAN - A Soviet-era star peers down on visitors from atop a white tower leading into the Kremlin compound, where golden crescents and crosses slice into the sky. A busload of children and teens, apparently unused to the sight of tourists, fervently wave at a group of curious Columbia University students. Workers tear down buildings, so dilapidated they look as if they've been hit by an earthquake, in preparation for the 1,000th anniversary of the city's founding, which will take place in 2005.

russian tiny teens


After two hours of rest, the group started their day at the Marjani Mosque, the only one in Kazan to remain open under the Soviet regime. In front of the mosque, two girls with hats pulled closely over their heads and layers of warm jackets and coats shrouding their bodies extended their tiny hands and asked from money. As soon as the students' coins dropped into the children's palms, more beggars, mostly old women, gathered around the generous visitors.

The book revolves around the independent life and relationships of tiny girls and boys in Kite City and other fictional cities: they know how to do adult-only jobs such as fixing cars, drawing, making a hot air balloon, writing poetry, treating medically, and so on. Of these little kids, Dunno is a boy most famous for his mischievous and quirky thoughts. Interesting, humorous and witty, this simple book for all ages, especially those with a rich imagination should not skip.

After lunch we landed at the Siberian Yupik village of Gambel, on St. Lawrence Island. The beach was covered with tiny, rounded pebbles that were difficult to walk on. The villagers came down and gave four-wheeler rides to anyone who didn't want to walk. They charged $5 each way -- Clipper issued us tickets the drivers collected, then redeemed for cash from the boat.

After the dancing, Kyle offered to drive us around the village. Natashia wanted to drive, so Kyle and I climbed on the back. After a while, Kyle said he had to sign out at work and directed Natashia, who was racing over gravel speed bumps and ruts, to the police station. This was a double-wide trailer with two men, a radio, a bathroom, and two tiny rooms at the far end that served as cells. "We mostly get drunk, so we don't have to be real secure," one of them said. The only locks I could see were in the doorknobs.

Kyle still had 15 minutes left on his shift, so he pointed out the boarded- up teen center and store, and suggested we walk over to the store and check it out. The store was tiny, barely anything except for candy bars. If you hadn't known before that the village was mainly subsistence-based, you would know it by coming here. It reminded me of the store in Alakanuk, where I used to live. 041b061a72


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