Village Revival in Russia




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decide constant underestimate
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army across (2) strawberry
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sweet cinnamon sea buck-thorn
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bit get along do/did/done
dill point (3) back and forth
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create free (3) fly/flew/flown


Video: A Village in Russia



Welcome to Mali Turysh, a little village in the Ural Mountains. Like many other villages in Russia, it was on the verge of dying out. Only twenty houses were still inhabited.

Of its five-hundred former inhabitants, just fifty remained.

But then, along came Guzel Sanchapova.

“I’m small and look like a boy,” she says. “But don’t underestimate me.”

Gusel calls herself a social entrepreneur. And her cell phone is her constant companion.

Guzel Sanchapova, Entrepreneur: “Pasha. Greetings from the village and thanks. Hey, Sergei; thanks from Mali Turysh.”

She makes a video thanking each and every customer, because ordering jam from Guzel means helping the village too.

Guzel Sanchapova, Entrepreneur: “People need to know they’re doing something good. Everyone that contributes something belongs to us. We’re a whole army of people who want to change things.”

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Jam from Mali Turysh. Jars of strawberry and raspberry jam are sent across Russia. Many go to private customers. They even cut the labels themselves.

Herbal tea is also produced here from ingredients that grow right outside the window.

Most of the women here retired long ago. They call themselves babushkas, or grandmothers. And the babushkas themselves decide who gets to work here.

Galiya Galimova, Babushka: “Remember the one who lasted only two days? We told her, ‘Stay home — you’re too slow.’”

The women all come from Mali Turysh or neighboring villages.

Sukha Khayumova, Babushka: “We chat and tell jokes, and laugh. The whole village can hear it when the windows are open.”

Sweet spoons for tea are something they dreamed up themselves. They’re made using syrup from wild herbs and dried berries.

Or the latest sensation: sea buck-thorn in cinnamon.

A Moscow-based organic food store chain has now ordered eight-thousand of the sweet spoons, for people who long for village life, Guzel says.

Guzel Sanchapova, Entrepreneur: “You drink your tea made from a teabag at the office. But we’d much rather have tea from a samovar, like at home.

But if you can’t take a vacation, here’s a solution: take a spoon, dip it in your dull tea . . . and sense how summer smells here.”

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Word has gotten around that Guzel pays good money for berries and herbs.

Mali Turysh is lucky to have someone like Guzel. She set up a little library here, though it doesn’t look like many people use it.

She’s also arranged for garbage collection — still a rarity in many Russian villages.

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Ralina Allajarova is so impressed, she’s leaving the big city to move back to Mali Turysh. She’s still fixing up the house she’s inherited.

But soon she’ll move in with her husband and child.

Ralina Allajarova: “Since we’ve met Guzel, everything’s changed. Now we want to give it a try. We’re fixing the house and taking a stab at village life.

The house is small: just two rooms and an entrance hall. Ralina’s grandparents built it, but it’s still in good shape.

She hope to find work here. Guzel told her she needs someone to help manage the company.

Ralina Allajarova: “In the city, you sit between concrete walls. You come home from work and you don’t know what to do with yourself.

But here you go out into the garden, pick a bit of dill and make yourself a salad.

It’s much nicer.”

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Next door in the factory, they’re almost done with the order from the Moscow Organic Food Chain.

Everyone’s in a great mood . . . like always.

Guzel says at some point Mali Turysh will get along fine without her.

And then she’ll move on to another village — and create something new there.

Guzel Sanchapova, Entrepreneur: “Where will I be in ten years’ time? Somewhere out in nature. Free as a bird. Or maybe in an airplane. Because I’ll have to fly back and forth between lots of villages.

I hope.”

Because Russia has many villages like Mali Turysh that needs someone like Guzel.

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Country, Countryside. Mali Turysh has been growing and expanding. Its population is growing. There are more and more people in Mali Turysh. True or false?

Farm. Is Mali Turysh unique, or are other villages in Russia shrinking too?

Village. Have big businesses come to Mali Turysh and created factories and companies?

Garden. Guzel works mostly with notebooks, a schedule book, record book, pens and pencils. Is this right or wrong?

Herbs. What does the village of Mali Turysh produce? Are they sold in local bazaars and markets?

Stream. The workers are mostly strong, young men. Is this correct or incorrect? Is the work very hard, difficult, tedious, grueling and a drudgery?

Trees, Forest. Do only the grandmothers benefit from Guzel’s enterprise?

Soil. Is she only involved in the tea and jam cooperative?

Bush, Shrub. Only locals live in Mali Turysh. Yes or no? Does Guzel plan on settling in Mali Turysh permanently?
Well. I have a country home. I visit villages sometimes. I sometimes visit the country. True or false?

Vegetables. What is the situation in villages in your region or country? Describe the situation in villages. Are they increasing in size, decreasing or remaining the same? Are villages getting bigger, smaller or remaining the same?

Fruit Trees. Are there village revivals? Are some (young) people moving to villages and the country?

Nature, Environment. My friends and I would like to live and work in the country or a village. Yes or no?

Forest, Woods. What might happen in the future?

Wildflowers. What should people and governments do?

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