Museum Exhibits? Nope, a Real Ukrainian Life!
Question to the modern kids: do you know what is it, on a picture above? Kinda hard to guess, right?
Okay, I will tell you what it is. This is an abacus! To be more exact, a Russian abacus. Yes, this is an old days calculator. This is a calculator from my young years also (1970-80th). I grew up in Ukraine back this time (now I live in Canada) and in my primary Ukrainian school I was taught how to use an abacus, and I knew it, but… I forgot it – many years came by since then.
Well, this suppose-to-be-a-museum-exhibit – an abacus - is still a part of a real life in Ukraine. Although big malls, supermarkets and grocery stores in Ukraine are equipped with modern cash registers, in some stores, especially in small Ukrainian cities or towns, they still use an abacus.
In our trip to western Ukraine in 2011, my Canadian relatives (my husband’s brother Len and his wife Bev) were surprised to see this, as for North-American point of view, museum exhibit in action – in a grocery store of a small city in Carpathian Mountains. So Len took a picture this old days calculator – the one you see above.
Yes, only in Ukraine you can see many ancient things which belong to past centuries, but it is still a part of a real life over there, especially in such areas like Carpathian Mountains. Not much industrial touch, not much modern technologies… In one hand, it is a struggle for local people, because they are working very hard to get things done; in other hand, such rural areas like western Ukraine it is a real find for tourists, especially those who value historical and ethnographical tourism!
Back to our trip... I knew Len will take this picture in our ride in Carpathians – hay bales, done manually, not using any machine at all:
I wrote already in one of my posts that only in Ukraine, especially in Ukrainian Carpathians, you can find hay bales done manually, which is a museum thing in North America as well – together with abacus :) And with a scythe.
Again, you don’t know what a scythe is? This is soft of ancient lawn mower. Take a look at the video below, how scythe works:
This video is from our trip to Ukraine as well – to show you a typical way of cutting grass at a lawn in Ukrainian household. Of course, if some lawn left – normally in Ukrainian countryside lawn is being used as a garden, for planting lots of vegetables and some flowers. Like this one:
To have a lawn covered with a grass is kinda luxury thing in Ukraine and only rich folks can afford it. Regular Ukrainians, especially in a small town, are not going to waste their pieces of property just for planting a grass. Growing vegetables is a survival matter in Ukraine. So, if some little lawn left, after planting all the veggies, Ukrainian would rather use an ancient scythe to cut a grass than to spend money for a modern lawn mower. Only in Ukrainian parks and squares they cut grass with a gas or electric lawn mowers. And, of course, in some weathy folks properties.
Yep, this is a real Ukrainian life for you…