Close your eyes and imagine you are staying at -67.7°C (-90°F). When you are taking a walk outside and taking a breath, it freezes you from the inside. You can’t open your eyes widely for too long because you are going to freeze off your eyes. The warmth of your body is the only thing that is keeping you alive.
I was born in this very cold and special region — Yakutia. Our republic is located in the northern part of Siberia, has an extremely continental climate with permanent frost and large territory. In my opinion, because of our far location we have the so-called «island effect»: our culture, attitude to life, way of thinking and mentality is unique. It helps us always create something new, stay resilient in spite of cold, to get through rough times, and be happy no matter what.
Growing up, I noticed that, compared to other teenagers, I was feeling more isolated from the big, outside world. I was missing out on so many opportunities. I’ve always dreamed about the world. Everything that the world can give: people, opportunities, and knowledge. At the age of 15, trying to connect with the rest of the world and motivated by my endless curiosity, I started taking interest in podcasts: educational, motivational and interviews.
I remember when I first got the idea of starting my own podcast. I was listening to TED Talks Daily as a part of my usual routine. Then I thought to myself: I have never listened to a podcast in the Yakut language. In this podcast, I speak my mother Yakut language, one of 1500 disappearing native languages. Currently, 450,000 people speak Yakut but this number is decreasing rapidly. Political persecution, a lack of preservation, and globalization are to blame for the dwindling language diversity. To preserve and save an important part of my culture, I want people to realize that there is still some space left in our language in the era of globalization, that we can speak about important problems in our native language and then search for those solutions.
The research behind every podcast is challenging. For example, in my last episode, I explored Olonkho—an entire Yakut epic poetic tradition, dating to the 14th century Yakuts migrating in the north, and the oldest epic art of any Turkic peoples. For this episode, I had to examine archives in the library because you can’t find much information about it online. During my research, I interviewed the youngest Olonkho teller, who, at the age of 13, could recite poems about good conquering evil and striving from the light—the main point of Olonkho. Later, I connected her to the oldest Olonkoh teller, an 80-year-old man.
That made me feel so proud of our culture. This moment made me think and daydream about the uniqueness of other nations and. All this experience that I’ve got with podcasts, every story that was told, every research that was done made me think about others and wanting to help. Later, I got feedback from a 83-year-old lady: she said that it is truly such a blessing for her to hear teenagers talking in our mother language and talking about a bright future.
When I think about my experience, I can say that I have really grown as a person. Now I know I want to help people and use my knowledge for a good cause. I want to discover, search for answers and help teenagers to re–discover local and global opportunities. And when I say ‘Doroobo (hello in Yakut), dear listeners', I say these words full of pride, as I adjust my microphone and start my next episode. I am being heard now. I have an opportunity to make a difference for good in this world.