From persecution in Belarus to freedom in Minnesota: My family’s journey

BY VALENTINA BOUTKO, MINNESOTA LITERACY COUNCIL

 

I was born in a big family. My mother and father had five children. I was the second to the oldest child. We lived in a small village in Belarus near a big forest and small lake.

It was a very difficult time in my country. Most people were poor. My mother worked as a nurse at the hospital four nights a week. During the day, she worked on the collective farm. We helped her pull out weeds on the huge fields. We had field jobs working with our hands, like digging potatoes, beets, and carrots. We walked a long distance to reach the field and didn’t have a car or even bicycle. I remember that it was very hard.

 

In the summer every day, we gathered berries in the woods. In the forests of Belarus are a lot of blueberries and cranberries. We walked into the woods with the neighborhood kids. It was difficult to walk long distances, but we tried to gather the berries to get the money for them. It was a small amount, but we could buy something for school like pens, notebooks, and pencils.

Prior to 1991, Belarus was ruled by the communist regime for 70 years. People did not have freedom. Many of them were in prison. Many of the better people were killed. The government did not allow children to go to church. My father was a communist. My mother believed in God. We wanted to go to church, but the authorities persecuted believers. We had a secret church and we went there at night. The communists forced my father to divorce my family. We had a very difficult time then. My father took a large part of the house and we slept for some time in the barn.

In 2011 I got the chance to come to the United States with my family. God had a special plan for my life. Now we all live in Minnesota where we are safe and happy. I have five children and nine grandchildren. I am very glad that my children and grandchildren can enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and have good food. Praise the Lord.

Source

http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/blog/arts-orbit/persecution-belarus-freedom-minnesota-my-familys-journey

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