I just read this rather horrific childhood recollection from Exiled, a online news office that concentrates on Russia related stories.
Yasha Levine talks about his childhood memories of the russian youth camps.
Myself, I still remember the time I went to summer camp for two weeks. I was four or so and couldn’t read properly yet, so every day to get home I took a bus at random and hoped that somebody would tell me this was the right one or the wrong one. I was scared shitless of all the people I didn’t know. Most of the time I got it right, but I afterwards I had a big dislike for any more summercamps.
Yasha had a slightly worse experience. Here’s an extract :
We lived and slept in huge shacks partitioned into two—one side for the girls, the other for the boys—about twenty campers to each side. I was in the youngest category and we were forbidden to go to the outhouse at night. Instead, we had to use the half-dozen rusty metal buckets distributed in the isles everyday at bedtime. But they were only for pissing. Our handlers forbade us from “going big” in them and threatened to punish anyone that did. But it didn’t help much. Every other night some poor kid wouldn’t be able to hold his stool till morning and would sneak up quietly to the bucket—not out of respect for fellow campers, but for fear of getting caught—and squat right there in the middle of the room. Sometimes they missed and the piece of crap would lay there until morning, stinking up the room.
He goes into quite a bit more detail that’s worth reading if you want to be horrified at the traumas he undoubtedly got from those stays there. I say undoubtedly because his writing style when he describes his experiences is pretty raw there.
Hope you got over most of the traumas, Yasha. Reading yours makes me realise my experience was nothing troubling.