Belarus SIG Newsletter

Issue No. 4 - August 1999

Letters from Belarus

Dear Genealogy friends:

I am sending this to share with those of you who are interested in what it is like to live in small villages in Belarus today. There are so many of them, from which our families once came, and where some of us still have - and others might have (yet unknown!) - relatives there.

My family lives in the village of Kleshchi, Belarus. It is situated between Ivonovo and Strelna. Population 160.

Here are two messages from my family and friends : Two messages, that I hope you find interesting! I have not corrected the spelling, this is exactly how I receive letters.

Best regards

Diane Ensign

First letter:

About small towns in America and small villages in Belarus - two big differents as I know. Till now we have small villages where there is not any grocery store, any post office, about city park - naivety to say, because it's a lot of forests here. Once a week for some such places can arrive a car with some products, busses sometimes is going in the nearest 2-5 km, but it's difficult to explane because all can be different in different places.

My grandfather said he had to walk to another town to purchase items and that he was tought to read and write in a church, Russian Orthodox. And the store and schools were walking distances away from their villages

My Belarus relitives also told me they heat their homes with wood. It is an added luxury here to have fireplaces in ones home, but that is not the main source of heating ones home. - true. My grandmother still have to heat her home with wood - but she live in a small town.

All these conveniences you can see only in small towns, towns, but children have to go to school as they can (I mean no special buses). But don't think all is so bad. Our cities are rather normal.

Letter just received July 13, 1999

(I found it easier to send my letters to a Belorussian Internet friend connection, and he translates my letters now and sends them to my family. It takes less than a quarter of the time, over the Internet, and they are translated.)

Dear Diana!

Good news! I want inform you, that Stephan Malaschuk received letter your send. I called to Olga Borisjuk, his sister, this evening(12 July), and she inform me about that. And Olga, your second cousin, receive your letter, that I write in Russian, also. I sent my envelope on Friday from the main Minsk post office. That is why it arrive quickly. The next day, Saturday, Olga received letter in Kleschi !

I am very happy, that I could help you. That our join efforts gives result. Olga said me ,however, that they are very busy now to write answer. It is the very time to work at the gathering bilberries in the wood. They sell berries and could take some money for this.

Really, the village people keep natural economy and work every time on the land. The farmland his wet nurse. I think you understand. The living is hard there. Olga promise to write answer after one week. She is agree to send letter to my Minsk address. And I, as contact link, translate it in English and send you soon by e-mail.

So, donít worry. I think you will receive message from Kleschi next week, I think.

Your friend Oleg, Svetlana and boys

Copyright © 1999 Belarus SIG and Diane Ensign

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