Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What We Don't Have in America #10

#10 JEK (ДЖЕК)

Cleaning up after trash collection

Jek (Джек) is the name for the people who are in charge of building maintenance and grounds keeping around the building. Most of them are older women who are usually built pretty sturdy because of the hard work they do. I'm sure there are some somewhere, but I've never seen a man doing any of the work these women do. They look pretty tough and a little scary which prompts some of the kids to refer to them as Zhakh (Жах) which means "horror". Some of the small children are even teased that the Zhakh people live under the stairs or in the rooms where they collect the trash that comes down from the trash chutes.

Weed Whackers
Cutting grass the old fashion way in summer

I can't really say that we have something like this in America. There are janitorial services and yard care services, but I can't think of anything that comes close to these dedicated group of hard working women.

Lions and Tigers and Bears...Oh My!

Today, Edna and I saw something that I'm almost sure you would never see in America. If you did, most people would run and call the police. We were headed to meet with our friend Fedir when Edna turned to me and asked, "Is that a tiger rolling in the snow over there?" Sure enough, it was. It seemed to be playing and entertaining itself. No one else seemed to be paying any attention to it, so being the brave animal lovers that we are, we walked over to it. We could see that it was tethered to a fence post by a small rope. We asked the man standing nearby if we could look at the tiger. He said we could take pictures if we wanted, but just not to get our faces too close because she might scratch us. The man showed us how she liked to play with him and was even play biting his arm. At one point one of her claws punctured his glove so he stopped playing so rough with her and had her lay on her back while he scratched her belly. I was so mad I didn't have my camera with me.

The female tiger was absolutely beautiful and it was an amazing sight to see her playing in the fresh snow like any other pet animal. It turns out she was part of the advanced party of a circus that was setting up nearby. Like I said, you'd probably never see an uncaged tiger on the street anywhere in America. She was friendly and playful, but I'm glad she didn't maul us, because how would we explain that we were attacked by a tiger that was playing on the street in Ukraine?

1 comment:

Ira said...

YEah, zhek.... That's a funny parralel with the "zhah" women =) I think the only reason Ukraine hasn't fallen apart yet is because of those all bearing steel ladies, that work while their precious husbands are deciding what they want to do with their lives...

And the tiger... WOW! I bet noone would really ever believe you were attacked by a stray tiger ... =) But another thing you would see everywhere (especially on the trains) is chickens and ducklings! Whenever you hear something chirping, make sure you don't stand next to a babushka with a big cardboard box =))