Posts tagged Pathfinders

Nuriya’s GREAT Grandmother

My grandmother Lati (in fact, she is my great grandmother) was born in 1910 in a small village at the foot of a mountain situated about 150 km from Almaty. She was the first child in her family. At the age of 5 or 6 she lost her mother who died of some disease. Since her father was a young man and the house needed woman’s hands, he married again. Usually it is hard to live with stepmother but my granny was lucky to have a kind woman who could love and replace mother. Granny Lati always told “though she wasn’t my mother, she brought me up like her own daughter”.


So, when she was 8 or 9 her stepbrother was born. Germans have a proverb “One child is egoist, two children are half egoist, three children are children”. But in spite of this, the family of my granny was united.


When my granny was full of age she got married (at that time Kazakhs could marry even at the age of 13) “bai”- a rich man whose wealth was estimated at thousands of sheep, hundreds of horses and cows. She became his third or fourth wife. The attitude of other wives of her husband to her was awful. They treated her as a domestic servant because she came from ignoble family and was the youngest of the wives. In the end, maybe unfortunately or fortunately, the newly married couldn’t be compatible. My granny divorced with a little girl on her hands. She took her little child and went 30-40 km on foot back to her father’s house. It was a brave and at the same time objectionable action at that time, because women were afraid of divorcing. She realized that people would blame her, it would be hard to rear a child without a husband but my granny was a woman of character and did what she thought best. I think it was really hard for her to live among people who treated her as a white crow (maverick) to some extent.


When five years passed, she met a man who became a father for her three children. It seemed that at last came an end of her unhappiness, but suddenly news of the Great Patriotic War broke in her house, which just was restored to happiness and poise. Again she was hit hard by her destiny. Her husband was called to arms. Hard times came not only for her but for all women throughout the Soviet Union. All women worked their fingers to the bone. Those who were in rural areas had scanty nourishment, all the food was sent to the soldiers who fought for the future of their country, children, and generation. I remember my aunt, who was in fact my grandmother, told that her mother always gave more fried wheat to her son because he was the only son, the transmitter of life and had a strong resemblance to her husband. My aunt always remembered that with indignation and laughter at the same time.


When the war was over my grandfather was considered as missing in action. In 1970s young pathfinders found his grave in Moldova. My granny reared her children alone, faced many difficulties of life but could keep her kindness, compassion and readiness to help others. She always told that people should do all the good to help each other and be kind-hearted, and even if a person whom you helped didn’t pay back in kind, God would do it. It’s like in Kazakh proverb “If you give with right hand, you will receive with left hand”. My granny lived to a great age and died at the age of 85. Though I was only ten when my granny died, I will always bear in mind her proverbs, which became principles (guides) of my life. 

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