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Maria Kuchub

Diligence is the key to success: Maria Kuchub, retired, Novolabinskaya village, the Ust-Labinsk region

09.08.2011

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Maria has had a hard life, and her whole family has always depended on her. She’s lived a life full of challenges and problems. When her mother died, she had to take care of the household. After an accident in which she fell and broke her ribs, she was forced to work anyway. She didn’t even know she had broken ribs until after they'd already healed. She was left deaf in one ear after a seed somehow got into her ear and sprouted.
 
For many years, Maria worked for a collective farm; she carried sacks of grain that weighed about 200 kilograms each and wound up hurting herself. At the same time, she also took care of her husband. Since then, she’s been suffering from headaches. But Maria is not one to complain. She's 70 years old and works like she did when she was 40. She’s at the center of everything. She gets up at 6 a.m. and starts working on what seems to be an endless amount of tasks: watering the garden, pulling out the weeds, feeding the chickens and turkey-ducks. Her daughter spends the day at work. The school where she teaches takes up a lot of her time, and Maria's grandchild is in school as well. So, Maria tries to do as much as she can on her own and feed her family, sometimes even making them a special treat.
 
The family’s favorite dish is borsch. “I like small pies, fried potatoes and milk. We eat meat from animals that we breed, and it’s so much better than what you can buy at the store. We always have vegetables, and I make vegetable salads. We don’t buy anything extra. There are too many additives in the products they sell nowadays. For example, if you buy bread now, it just breaks down into crumbs on the second day, and you simply don’t want to eat it (there were times when only natural yeast was used for making bread). It's the same way with meat. I used to like ham, but I don’t buy it anymore, because if I do, it’s just all watery. I’d much rather purchase salo (pork fat), because I know there are no additives in it.”
 
Maria points out the gradual and inevitable increase in food prices. “Canned food used to cost less, but now it’s expensive, so I don’t buy it. The fish used to cost 50 rubles, and now it’s 90-100 rubles, because it's delivered from somewhere far away. But you can’t really buy it. You take fewer products like wheat and buckwheat. We used to spend 2,000-3,000 rubles on food, but now it costs more. I'd say we spend about half of our income on food.”
 
Homemade products are definitely a big help. But for that, you first need to invest time and energy. And it’s a good thing that the family has a grandma like Maria. She’s always kind and reserved, and she never complains. She lives with God in her soul, and it seems that the land feeds such hardworking people like Maria, provides them with water, energy and health.
 
Author: Taela Golovachyova, editor-in-chief for Non-Commercial News Agency, Krasnodar.


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