- Posted February 2, 2014 by
NOVOPODREZKOVO, Russian Federation
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Travel snapshots: Embracing winter
Cold Plunge Auski 2014
What do you do on a normal Saturday Morning? I think most people enjoy the opportunity to sleep in later than usual. I know for me it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to snuggle up close to my love, feel the warmth in our soft cozy bed. Yes, that would be my normal Saturday morning but this Saturday was far from normal. We were invited to help the Cold Plunge Auski team put on a benefit cold plunge.
Let me enlighten you to what a cold plunge is all about. First, you get up at the break of dawn on a day with very cold temperatures (-22C / -7F degrees) to cut a big hole in the thick ice covering a very cold lake. Then you get a bunch of civic minded people together to let them pay to jump in the ice cold water. These paying civic minded people swim around until they can’t feel their fingers and toes anymore. Afterwards they scramble to get some warm clothes on and happily cheer about their accomplishment.
Does it sound a little crazy? Well, this is an annual event for the Cold Plunge Auski team that started in 2011 and it is quickly gaining notoriety. In fact this year, Mark Howard, a sports presenter from Australia’s Network 10 traveled all the way from Australia to participate. He was on his way to Sochi, Russia to report on the Olympics but he heard about this opportunity to help out and decided he had to participate.
Australia’s Ambassador to Russia, Mr. Paul Myler, has vowed to participate in the plunge every year. From what I understand this is his second year to support the cause.
So what cause is important enough to make people want to jump in freezing cold water? Homelessness is the cause and the charity that Cold Plunge Auski supports is Caritas Assistance Services for the Homeless. The numbers in Russia are difficult to track due to the way the census numbers are collected but there is currently an estimated 1.5 to 4.2 million homeless people in Russia. Cold Plunge Auski is doing what they can to help reduce this number and make the people who have fallen on hard times more comfortable during their time of need. Today, 65 people jumped in the frigid water to raise $11,000 to make the conditions for the homeless a little better but due to the huge numbers of the homeless, the cause needs more help. So if you would like to donate you still can. Donations are still being accepted at http://www.gofundme.com/6l3e3w
Your donations will help the homeless of Moscow by providing them with many life sustaining items. Each person that is helped receives a passport to return home (most of the people helped are from former soviet countries and can't get back because they have no passport) socks, warm underpants, underwear, hat, gloves, canned food, water, vitamins, medicine, and transport (15 metro trips).
Event Coordinator, Tommas Coldrick, says “An average of 30 people a month, die from the cold temperatures in Moscow. So it's important to get behind charities like this so we can make a difference. I also think it's important for us expats to give something back to a city that gives us so much.”
The event participants are mainly expats from Australia but there is a mixture of at least 16 different nations all wanting to help out a good cause. “What's great about the cold plunge for the Homeless, is that it brings everyone together. Seeing all different nationalities getting together and supporting a great cause is something really special.” Said Tommas Coldrick.
The Australian community is growing in Moscow and they want to give back to a country that they have grown to love. Cold Plunge Auski is just one of the Australian expat events that happens in Moscow. So if you are an Australian expat living in Russia and would like to get involved with events like this you can contact Gabriel Kozulan at the Australian Cultural Center through their website. www.auscc.ru He will be happy to help direct you to all the events that you can participate in.