By mid-December, people begin getting frostbite and dying. There are no doctors, only a veterinarian from Estonia. The guards won’t come into their huts, saying they are filthy pigs, and they make them leave their dead outside the doors. Diseases run through the camp, and some people commit suicide. One day Janina points Lina to a huge, dead owl in the snow. Janina suggests that they eat it. Together and with the help of other deportees, they smuggle it back into the jurta. They cook it and are heartened by the taste of meat.
With extremely little food, lots of hard work, and a harsh winter, a large owl is a lifesaving source of protein for the deportees. Yet their immune systems are still weakened, and the close quarters of the jurta and lack of hygiene allow diseases to run rampant. The fact that the only medical professional in the camp is a veterinarian makes the deportees feel even more like they are less than human.