The Nenets live in traditional chums secluded from the world.
After 2 excruciating days of ploughing through thick snow and ice, we crawled into our camp with our Jeeps at 5 am. We were greeted by two men cloaked head to toe in reindeer hide who ushered us into their chum for some tea.
As we entered the traditional tent, the first thing we noticed was the smell. The Nenets people do not bathe during the winter months. There is limited ventilation inside the chum to prevent heat loss, so with a family of 4 living, cooking and sleeping inside with their dogs, there is quite an odour. Thanks to a wood burning stove in the centre, the chum has a comfortable temperature.
Exhausted after our long drive, we managed to catch up on some much-needed sleep. We found ourselves waking up in the night with the dogs inside our sleeping bags, also escaping the cold.
Our time with the Nenets was spent ice fishing through the 3-meter-thick ice sheets upon the river Ob River, keeping an eye on their 400+ herd of reindeer and learning about their traditions and beliefs. With their population steadily decreasing, the Nenets people and their culture will soon be lost.