«True people» (Nenei nenecha) – self-name of Nenets, the indigenous people of the Yamal peninsula, and the name of the complex 2015–2016 ethnographic expedition. Project participants and the visitors of the resource will be the part of the reindeer herders's family during the whole year just to «dive» in the casual life of the modern XXI century nomads.


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As we wrote before, Kostya has changed his plan to stay near Yasavey river over winter and decided to repeat last year's route to Yuribey river's area. So we had about 50 kms ahead of us to one of the winter camp places. On Decemper 17th Alexandra and Albina had to go for Salekhard and Yar-Sale town. 

We have no chance to make many photos and videoa these days, because we have to help our nomadic family in many everyday matters. this is one of the points that distinquish longterm stay in tundra from short terms visits when esplorer, tourist or journalist stays in a chum as a guest. Weather conditions also often change our plans for filming - our technics sweats, light days are short, and at least but not last, it's very cold. Hands freeze - so from time to time we dream about our personal video operator.  

On December 7th we arrived at our 51st encampment place:N 69º28'37,9'' E 069º46'00,9''. The linear distance from our last camp - 4 kms. 

We woke up at 5am as usual during kaslaniye day. Snowstorm started in the night, but Kostya didn't change his intention to move the herd - he anticipated weather change. After longer stay at the same place the preparation is long: it's a lot to be done - to sweep ice-covered nartas, to cleat chum covers from snow. Albina says, we took to many things from the nartas.    

Light days are very short now, so all preparation are made during the dark time. While we collected bed stuff and chlother and packed them to narta-yuhuna during the snowstorm, we still hoped Kostya will change his plan. But he was firm in his intention: we had to reach Yuribey in time. 

During picking riding bulls sky got partially clear and the wind calmed. We haven't see the sun for many days: the sky is covered with dense and heay clouds. Our navigator believes that in this part of Yamal peninsula the sunrise happend on November 17th (or 18th?). At time we've written this report, the navigator was fully ouf of battery, but if you are eager to check the timing you can find the information in the Internet. A lot of people who never have been to North, are full of myths about polar night from the mass culture. A real polar night appears further north than 80 degrees northern latitude, but the populous part of Subarctic, including Yamal peninsula, is located southward. During the darkest month, December, the sun doesn't appear over horizon, but there is still a light day which lasts for 5 hours. It feels really spectacular: one can not see the sun disc, but in in the southern part of horizon there is an amber colour line.

This time Alexander led argish of Albina, and Albina herself rode snowmobile with Padava and controlled the herd from the back. Because of long preparation we've covered a short distance that day, after only 3,5 kms it started to get dark, we stopped and made the chum. The weather was still bad, with snowstorm and poor visibility. Next day we wanted to move forward and, tired going to bed, dreamed of a better weather conditions. 

On December 8th we reached our 52nd encampment place:N 69º20'54,2'' E 069º49'27,4''. The linear distance from the last camp  – 14,3 kms.

Another kaslaniye day. According to usual local conditions, it's quite warm - not colder that -10 degrees Celcius. Almost no wind, and no snowstorm. Compared with the moving on the previous day, this time is felt like vacation. Preparation in the morning was very quick, we dismanteled our chum in the dark - we already used to it. This time our camp is located near the big coral - Hariuma'va. 


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We didn't move on December 9th: everybody needed to rest before next two days of interrupted moving.  

On December 10th we arrived at our 53rd camp: N 69º12'52,6'' E 069º52'01,8'', the linear distance - 15 kms. During this moving something steadily happened to Alexandra's argish. First a malk (a castrated bull without horn) run away and one had to catch an avka (a domesticated reindeer grown up near the chum and used to people). Then the nutos (the last narta, used to transport the chum's sticks) unbended, Albina and Alexander brought it back and helped to change the brocken ropes. Then on the descent a rope leading to the reindeer's team got broken, and Albina helped again. Otherwise it was a rather smooth kaslaniye - and truly speaking small misfortunes mentioned above happen almost every time. In the evening the air temperature dropped to -22 degrees Celcius and finally we saw stars in the sky.  

Alexander and his argish near the steep descent:

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On December 11th we arrived at our 54th camp place:N 69º05'55,3'' E 069º55'04,0'', 13 kms from the last camp. In the night the air temperature dropped to -30 degrees, but there was no wind, so we decided to move forward again. As for Yamal frosts, we want to share an observation with you. This kind of temperature -25-30 degrees isn't much wonder for people living in middle Russia. But here people whole day stay outside by this (or lower) temperature. Comparing with our homeplace - Sain Petersburg, we can say that the forsts feel easier here, because of high humidity in Petersburg. It's more comfortable to breath here during the cold days, and frozen cheeks and noses heal faster. 

This time during kaslanye  Albina stayed behind: the snowmobile she was riding fell aside, other argishes were far further and nobody heard her cries. Only later Kostya at one riding narta went back to pick her up. With little Semyon we waited for a long time, even wore warmer yagushka and malica clothes, cause it got too cold. Then fog and snowstorm started and the rest of the road we continues almost without seeing anything. Alexander dreamed of expedition's personal video operator again - he followed the argishes and the herd in the dark and observed this spectacular view without being able to film such a beautiful scenery. At our target place lights of "Buran" snowmobile already waited for us: Radik, his wife Sveta and Myangcha arrived there first. They have brought 40 reindeers from the family herd - all they were collected  this fall in Yuribei area in other herds. The relatives helped us to montage the chum, drank tea with us and left. 

We stayed at the same place on December 12th, while Kostya and Albina visitet chums of Kostya's parents and Radik, who had to move to our camp. 

On December 13th we moved to our 55th camp: N 69º01'30,1'' E 069º54'20,6'', the linear distance - 8,2 kms. We didn't move far away, just a little closer to Kostya's parents' chum. Clear sky and strong wind. The air temperature dropped from -20 degrees Celcius at day to -30 degrees in the evening. At the new camp's place Radik has already waited for us. We used winter heavy sticks for the chum (which were brought the day before with snowmobile) and warmer fell chum cover.

December sunset:

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On December 14th Kostya and Alexander went to dismantle the chum of Kostya's parents, and Mamanyka (otherwise called Kostya'neba or Yana'mama, after an eldest daughter of Kostya, Yana, who was raised by Mamanyka), Nache (Kostya's father), Radik (Kostya's elder brother), his wife Sveta and their son Myangcha, plus 6 dogs, moved to our camp. Everybody spent the night in our chum, which was suddenly full of relatives who haven't see eath other for a long time. More fuzzbuzz was created by dogs who different from the summertime always try to stay inside the warm chum or even hide under the bed cover. Kostya's parents have brought another petrol lamp, so we light two lamps now. 

Myangcha starts engine of his "Buran" snowmobile:  

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Mamanyka and Nache love to play cards: 

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