Belarus villagers prefer their secluded lifestyle to the city

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Villagers prefer hard work to city smoke
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Villagers prefer hard work to city smoke
Yulia Panchenya, 82, makes Easter cakes on the eve of Orthodox Easter in the village of Pogost, Belarus, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Vladimir Krivenchik, 41, and Nikolay Skidan slaughter a pig at their house in the village of Khrapkovo, Belarus, February 3, 2017. "We're far from civilisation - and that's a good thing. I feel comfortable here," said�Krivenchik,�who is raising a young family in his native village of Khrapkovo, close to Belarus's southern border with Ukraine. "We survive thanks to this scrap of land. You go to Minsk for half a day and your head starts to hurt and you want to go home." Krivenchik�supplements his income as a watchman at a granary by raising pigs for slaughter and hunting. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Weaving threads are seen in the house of 75-year-old Ekaterina Panchenya in the village of Pogost, Belarus, February 2, 2017. "I do everything myself: feed the animals in the barn, the chickens in the yard, and I pickle and preserve all the vegetables. The river is nearby, the forest, mushrooms and berries in the summer. No, I'll never in my life move to town," she said. Panchenya�is also skilled in local folk traditions such as floral embroidery, a cappella choral singing and ancient pagan ceremonies, which survived the ideological white-washing of the Soviet era. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Ekaterina Panchenya, 75, works on embroidery at her home in the village of Pogost, Belarus, February 2, 2017. "I do everything myself: feed the animals in the barn, the chickens in the yard, and I pickle and preserve all the vegetables. The river is nearby, the forest, mushrooms and berries in the summer. No, I'll never in my life move to town," she said. Panchenya�is also skilled in local folk traditions such as floral embroidery, a cappella choral singing and ancient pagan ceremonies, which survived the ideological white-washing of the Soviet era. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Ekaterina Panchenya, 75, works on an old loom in her house in the village of Pogost, Belarus, February 2, 2017. "I do everything myself: feed the animals in the barn, the chickens in the yard, and I pickle and preserve all the vegetables. The river is nearby, the forest, mushrooms and berries in the summer. No, I'll never in my life move to town," she said. Panchenya�is also skilled in local folk traditions such as floral embroidery, a cappella choral singing and ancient pagan ceremonies, which survived the ideological white-washing of the Soviet era. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People gather before a wedding ceremony in the village of David-Gorodok, Belarus, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Bride Tatyana Pashkovets stands at her home before her wedding ceremony in the village of David-Gorodok, Belarus, October 1, 2017. Tatyana is waiting for the groom Alexander, with whom they will hold a wedding celebration in accordance with the traditions that have developed in this village - to walk through the village to the registry office, then to the church and back home. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Women dance during a wedding party in the village of David-Gorodok, Belarus, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Vladimir Krivenchik, 41, his wife Nina Skidan and his daughters are seen at their kitchen in the village of Khrapkovo, Belarus, August 31, 2017. "We're far from civilisation - and that's a good thing. I feel comfortable here," said�Krivenchik,�who is raising a young family in his native village of Khrapkovo, close to Belarus's southern border with Ukraine. "We survive thanks to this scrap of land. You go to Minsk for half a day and your head starts to hurt and you want to go home." Krivenchik�supplements his income as a watchman at a granary by raising pigs for slaughter and hunting. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Oleg (L), Lada and Ulyana Skidan sit at their home before Oleg goes to classes on the first day of school in the village of Khrapkovo, Belarus, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An Orthodox priest conducts a wedding ceremony in the village of David-Gorodok, Belarus, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Painting are seen over washbasins outside school cafeteria in the village of Sudkovo, Belarus, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A boy waits at a bus stop in the village of Khrapkovo, Belarus, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Valentina Zhih, 77, hangs linen on the washing line at her house in the village of Danilovichi, Belarus, October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An Orthodox priest conducts a wedding ceremony in the village of David-Gorodok, Belarus, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Ekaterina Panchenya, 75, walks in the snow to her neighbour's house, in the village of Pogost, Belarus, February 2, 2017. "I do everything myself: feed the animals in the barn, the chickens in the yard, and I pickle and preserve all the vegetables. The river is nearby, the forest, mushrooms and berries in the summer. No, I'll never in my life move to town," she said. Panchenya�is also skilled in local folk traditions such as floral embroidery, a cappella choral singing and ancient pagan ceremonies, which survived the ideological white-washing of the Soviet era. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pupils sit in class on the first day of school in the village of Sudkovo, Belarus, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Children play in the village of Khrapkovo, Belarus, August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An Orthodox church is seen at night in the village of Khrapkovo, Belarus, August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Ekaterina, a granddaughter of 75-year old Ekaterina Panchenya, bathes her daughter Dasha in a basin on a hot summer day in the village of Pogost, Belarus, August 15, 2017. For Ekaterina Panchenya, it was "cars, noise and dirt" and the sight of city-dwellers standing in line to buy groceries that dissuaded her from leaving her smallholding in the village of�Pogost. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pupils holding flowers walk to school on the first day of school in the village of Khrapkovo, Belarus, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Anna Krivenchik, 71, sorts out potatoes before planting in the village of Kharkovo, Belarus, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Ekaterina Panchenya, 75, visits her relatives' graves during Orthodox Easter in the village of Pogost, Belarus, April 16, 2017. "I do everything myself: feed the animals in the barn, the chickens in the yard, and I pickle and preserve all the vegetables. The river is nearby, the forest, mushrooms and berries in the summer. No, I'll never in my life move to town," she said. Panchenya�is also skilled in local folk traditions such as floral embroidery, a cappella choral singing and ancient pagan ceremonies, which survived the ideological white-washing of the Soviet era. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mikhail, a grandson of 75-year-old Ekaterina Panchenya, fishes in the river of Stviga near the village of Pogost, Belarus, August 16, 2017. For Ekaterina Panchenya, it was "cars, noise and dirt" and the sight of city-dwellers standing in line to buy groceries that dissuaded her from leaving her smallholding in the village of�Pogost. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Boys play in the river of Stviga on a hot summer day near the village of Pogost, Belarus, August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
People take part in a May-time ritual in honour of the�pagan god Yurya when villagers don national dress and make offerings out of colourful ribbons and paper in the hope of�plentiful harvests�in the future, in the village of Pogost, Belarus, May 6, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Villagers buy food at a local grocery store in the village of Pogost, Belarus, May 6, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A street nameplate is seen on a wall of an old house in the village of Pogost, Belarus, August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An icon is seen in a house of 82-year-old Yulia Panchenya in the village of Pogost, Belarus, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Women gather for a May-time ritual in honour of the�pagan god Yurya when villagers don national dress and make offerings out of colourful ribbons and paper in the hope of�plentiful harvests�in the future, in the village of Pogost, Belarus, May 6, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People with their Easter cakes and other food gather at an Orthodox church yard on the eve of Orthodox Easter in the village of Turov, Belarus, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Nikolay Skidan harrows the field after it was sown with barley in the village of Khrapkovo, Belarus, April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Vladimir Krivenchik, 65, sows barley on a field in the village of Khrapkovo, Belarus, April 24, 2017. Krivenchik is one of the few villagers who retained the skill of sowing by hand, when each stroke of the hand is coordinated with a certain step size. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Family photos in wooden frames are seen at a house of 82-year-old Yulia Panchenya in the village of Pogost, Belarus, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko SEARCH "BELARUS VILLAGES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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KHRAPKOVO, Belarus, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Just a few hours drive from the Belarussian capital of Minsk, many villagers still live off the land - planting, harvesting and pickling crops according to the season and ancient folk traditions.

Nearly 80 percent of the former Soviet nation's 9.5 million citizens live in towns and cities, but for the remainder, being close to nature can outweigh the hardships of country life.

"We're far from civilization - and that's a good thing. I feel comfortable here," said 41-year-old Vladimir Krivenchik, who is raising a young family in his native village of Khrapkovo, close to Belarus's southern border with Ukraine.

"We survive thanks to this scrap of land," Krivenchik said. "You go to Minsk for half a day and your head starts to hurt and you want to go home."

Krivenchik supplements his income as a watchman at a granary by raising pigs for slaughter and hunting.

Most villagers also grow crops close to their one-story homes - on vegetable patches and fields that are often plowed by horse and sown laboriously by hand.

For 75-year old Ekaterina Panchenya, the biggest change in daily life is that young people have become more lazy.

"In the past, children didn't go out partying. They worked in the field or carried sheaves to the threshing mill," she said.

But it was "cars, noise and dirt" and the sight of city-dwellers standing in line to buy groceries that dissuaded Panchenya from leaving her smallholding in the village of Pogost.

"I do everything myself: feed the animals in the barn, the chickens in the yard, and I pickle and preserve all the vegetables. The river is nearby, the forest, mushrooms and berries in the summer. No, I'll never in my life move to town," she said.

Panchenya is also skilled in local folk traditions such as floral embroidery, a cappella choral singing and ancient pagan ceremonies, which survived the ideological white-washing of the Soviet era.

These include a May-time ritual in honor of the pagan god Yurya, when villagers don national dress and make offerings out of colorful ribbons and paper in the hope of plentiful harvests in the future.

"I give all my strength to preserve these ceremonies and songs that make everyone cry, to give them to the young," Panchenya said.

(Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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