Thanks to "Nasha Russia" TV show, we all know where and how Russian rugged millers work. In this respect, ForUm thought why not to tell the story of Ukrainian engineers, blacksmiths and metal turners - professions we do not speak often about. For this, ForUm journalists went to the Bortnychy aeration plant (BSA) to see real men at work. As you understand, the work here is not the easiest one.

First, we went to the engineering shop, where crews monitor and control correct functioning of all systems and mechanisms of the plant. Workers have to fix and repair pumps, ventilation systems, lifting mechanisms, plumbing, various tubes and dirt collectors. There is a variety of machines, and workers without good skills will get lost here.

These are not simple and tiny screwdrivers and wrenches to work with, and minimum skill required is gifted hands.

In this workshop, workers are repairing a pump that aerifies aeration tanks.

In these long tanks sewage waters get cleaned by special microorganisms. For bacteria to multiply faster, the tanks must be well pumped with air. The problem is that pumps sometimes break down and there are no spare pumps to replace them. Workers have to spend hours to fix the equipment.

Metal screen filter elements also break down often. These filters are supposed to stop garbage Kyiv residents flash into sewage - rugs, bags, plastic dishes and even bed sheets.  Prongs of the filter sometimes cannot take such load and break down. The workers say they had to invent a procedure to fix the filters.

The last of the Mohicans

There about a thousand people working in the engineering shop, all men. The average age of workers is 50 years. Some of them have been working here for 20-30 years.

According to the workers, they worry there is nobody to pass the experience to. Young people do not want to work as mechanics or millers. Such professions are not popular and salaries are small. "We are like dinosaurs here," turners told ForUm.

Moreover, the equipment of the plant is very old, even ancient. These machines, for example, were introduced into operation in 1965-70s. Since then, USSR collapsed, Ukraine has become independent and changed three presidents, while the machines are still working.

No enterprises produces spare details for soviet machines, and workers had to make them themselves. A gas welder here, for example, is cutting a piece of working material from metal sheets.

Then there is the turn of metal turners, who are processing details with their tools and machines.

Judging by the interior, turners are rugged, but also romantic men. Look how many plants grow in the workshop - cactus, begonia...

Charming Smith Vakula

Blacksmith Petro Ishchenko is the most charismatic person in the repair shop. He cannot speak and hear, but he can read lips. To communicate with him workers of the plant have learned the finger language.

The primary job of Petro Semyonovych is to make various details for mechanisms - blades, hubs, etc. If needed, he can hammer out various tools - pliers or a hammer, for example. However, master's hands also can make these beautiful metal flowers.

Petro Ishchenko is 62 years old, but he cannot be reproached with tardiness. From fire to anvil and back, he runs like a young man.

And he is ready to share his experience with younger generation.

...Following the theory of Australian professor Jenny Graves, the poorly designed Y chromosome that makes men is degrading rapidly and will disappear, even if humans are still around. However, ForUm's journalists do not believe in the forecast and state that there is yet powder in the powder-horns of our men!

Alina Yeremeyeva, photos by Maxim Trebukhov


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