– Did you look for a job here?
– I arrived in Minsk and I needed to get a residence permit. [Sister's] husband is a veteran of war, and he registered me. I started to work on a bicycle factory. I worked there for some time but I didn't like it.
– And then you built a house with your brother?
– Then my brother Viktor returned from the army and arrived here, in Minsk. He was also registered and he worked as a carpenter on a car factory. He made everything, including doors and windows. He made it when the log cabin was still in the village.
We cut trees when we were given some free wood as fire victims. Fire victims were given everything at that time. And then people built houses as best they could.
– Did they give you trees in Asipovicki district [Mahilioŭ region]?
– Did you cut it yourselves?
– Yes, we did it ourselves. And I did it myself. I ensured that the wood was smooth, flat, and symmetrical. Do you see this thick wood? (points at the walls) There is a lot of spruce, we cut it into panels, because people had never colored floors in the village, they didn't understand it. We took those panels, polished them. Dried up, they were so white, as if they were burning!
– How long did it take to make the log cabin?
– We couldn't transfer it for a long time. They didn't give us a horse, because kolkhoz didn't have it. They had two tractors but… Oh, I can't express this grief. Logs started to decay. And we had to rent cars to transfer the log cabin to Minsk.
And we were building again, hired people, laid the wood. But where could we get money? No nails, no panels – we couldn't buy it, we had to obtain it you know. We got it in warehouses. I had to get acquainted with people to get some slate.
– You told that when you had come here, there had been a field only.
– Over there where the tram is turning around, there was a house surrounded by signed wooden sticks, dandelions were growing. We marked 500 or 600 square meters (5,382 or 6,458sq ft). And we had a pit in our street. Water was flowing there and then down to the river.
– Who moved here? Did they build houses themselves?
– Yes, they obtained territories and constructed houses themselves. The factory or the district executive committee gave those territories, I don't know exactly.
– Did everyone make kitchen gardens?
– It depends on the owner. When I started to work in the boiler house, girls used to say that I had a museum, not a kitchen garden. Why? Because it was clean there, as it is now. I cultivated cucumbers in September, they grew up to the apple tree. And I used to pickle 20 jars of cucumbers. And I gave it out! To all, to neighbors. I didn't sell it.
– Do you know your neighbors well? Do you know everybody?
– Why should I know everybody? I knew only when I started to work here. I hadn't known them before, because I didn't have time for it.
– Do you like it here?
– Why not? I like, I like. When I came to the village, my sister lives there. "Nina, you are the happiest person!" she said.
"Because you ran away from the kolkhoz."
"Yeah," I replied.