Over the River Vyacha

[b]It’s not easy to live in the capital and take up farming. However, with hard work and a friendly attitude, it’s amazing what can be achieved[/b]Waiting for foreign guests at the Radzima (Motherland) Society in Minsk, one of my colleagues noted that nothing more can surprise us, journalists. Everyone exchanged looks and the Head of the Society, Maxim Dubenok, smiled, saying that he would try to do this nonetheless. “You know, a couple of days ago, a joyful event occurred on our farm. Our cow, called Zorka, gave birth to its first calf. It’s already beginning to walk. Now, we’re thinking of a name for it. Maybe, you can suggest something creative?” he asked.
It’s not easy to live in the capital and take up farming. However, with hard work and a friendly attitude, it’s amazing what can be achieved

Waiting for foreign guests at the Radzima (Motherland) Society in Minsk, one of my colleagues noted that nothing more can surprise us, journalists. Everyone exchanged looks and the Head of the Society, Maxim Dubenok, smiled, saying that he would try to do this nonetheless. “You know, a couple of days ago, a joyful event occurred on our farm. Our cow, called Zorka, gave birth to its first calf. It’s already beginning to walk. Now, we’re thinking of a name for it. Maybe, you can suggest something creative?” he asked.
Suddenly, it felt as if the aroma of warm, fresh milk was filling the air! Of course, news of a calf being born is nothing out of the ordinary; for it to happen in the capital city is certainly unusual however. Did Mr. Dubenok, now in his good suit and tie, wearing delicate eau de cologne, help deliver the new addition? Surely, his parents, living in their village, must be responsible. However, Mr. Dubenok assured us that it was his cow. He continued to surprise us by describing his breeding sows. He has even attended three month long courses in Germany to learn how to look after them.
At weekends, he sells his piglets at Zhdanovichi market. “When my acquaintances see me with my ‘commodities’, they don’t believe their eyes,” smiles Mr. Dubenok. In autumn, his potatoes readily find customers.
We recently visited his estate, located on a beautiful site on the River Vyacha — some 25km from Minsk’s ring road. You can reach it via Belaruchy, where Yanka Kupala once studied (not far from Vyazynka). Yakub Kolas lived there with his friend while writing his New Land and Symon, the Musician. Back in the Soviet times, Mr. Dubenok’s father-in-law fell in love with the property. He was a Komsomol leader, organising a tourist rally nearby. In the course of time, his old dream ‘to acquire land and one’s own corner’ was brought to life, and he built a house. Now, his daughter and son-in-law, Maxim, join his son and his wife (all have degrees) in farming. They spend all their free time there and do everything themselves: mowing, milking and cleaning stalls. They admit that, although the profits aren’t yet great, they’re able to provide their own families completely with food.
They live together in a friendly fashion at Vyacha, taking care of the cattle through winter. In spring and summer, they spend all their time there. Mr. Dubenok tells us that, when the house was still under construction, they all slept in their own beautiful caravans. They’re still there, since they may yet come in handy; their four little girls are growing up and will one day marry, perhaps wishing to bring their husbands here.
Maxim jokes with us, while showing a complacent cow munching on grass in the field — its calf cheerfully running around it.

By Mikhalina Cherkashina
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