Kiwis in ice-cold water to help Moscow homeless
Tue, 31 Jan 2012 12:09p.m.
A group of Australians and New Zealanders living in Moscow took a plunge into ice-cold water over the weekend to raise money for the homeless.
Expats wearing bikinis, board shorts and all kinds of swimwear dived into an ice hole in a Moscow park while the outside temperature approached minus 20 degrees Celsius.
People strolling in the park, all in heavy winter clothes and fur hats, looked on in amazement, cheered and took photos.
More than 50 people decided to take a plunge to raise funds for the homeless. Each participant had to raise at least 2,000 roubles to take part in the plunge.
"The idea is to have the expat community, Australians and Kiwis who are used to a very nice weather indeed at this time of year, to help out the community that they live in," explained one of the event's organisers Karen Percy.
"We see lots and lots of homeless people on the streets of Moscow, and at this time of year when it's minus 20, we really, really feel for them... So we're raising money for the homeless and doing something that's one of those very, very Russian traditions."
While for Russians it may be a long-running tradition, diving into freezing water proved much harder for expats.
"I made a noise that came out of my mouth that I didn't know my body can make", said one of participants, Rick Smith, upon getting out of water.
But it was all for the good cause.
"I feel a little bit what it's like to be on the street. I certainly feel like that now, and I feel very sorry for them. So hopefully we're going to make a little bit," said David, an Australian participant.
Exactly how many people live on the streets of Moscow is unknown, but some estimates put the number of homeless in the Russian capital at 100,000.
3 News / Reuters
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2/02/2012 10:46:28 a.m.
the temperature was actually -11, not -20
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