Building a new future
Content submitted by – Lili
Submited Date : 28/06/2018
Irina and Mihail Makey with their family, Belarus

Hello! We are the Makey family from Belarus, and this is our story…We want to share with you a story on how tourism drastically changed our lives. Most of our life, we have been living in a traditional Belarus village. Our work was on our plot of land, growing crops, and selling part of it. We have travelled seldom and have never thought that we could receive visitors, although we have a spacious private house. Today life without tourism is inconceivable for us, and we can hardly imagine how we could have lived without it earlier. How did it happen? It was in the beginning of 2000 when in Belarus they just started to speak about agro-tourism. In truth, even today there are people who have no idea about this type of tourism, and 15 years ago only few knew about it. We also belonged to the unaware majority until we saw an announcement in the newspaper, posted by volunteers (today this is the main agrotourism promotion Belarusan Public Association ‘Recreation in the village’), inviting all people interested in agrotourism to make a training visit to Ukraine. New things are usually attractive, and since everything was running smoothly in our household and the trip was cheap, we had agreed to take part in this, as it seemed then, adventure. There we became acquainted with Mrs. Klitsunova (today she is the Chairman of the Public Association ‘Recreation in the village’) who, having learnt about our potential, advised us to turn our house and land plot into an agrotourism center without delay. In order to motivate us further she paid us a visit together with high-ranking visitors. We were eager to show our best side. From then on, everything started to move forward. Demand for recreation in the Belarus village, among our compatriots and visitors from far-flung countries, continues to grow day by day, but we do not limit ourselves to simple provision of a roof over a heads. We have expanded our kitchen. We have since invited neighbors to earn extra income by working as cooks during seasons when the manor is fully packed. Today it has 40 beds and our café has 120 seats. Here it is possible to hold a banquet or festivity. In Belarus one can see a constantly growing interest of young couples in organizing weddings in a national style, i.e. in a village. The majority of visitors expressly come to us to see the distinctive ‘feature’ of our manor a beautiful arboretum, boasting more than 250 kinds and varieties of trees and bushes. By the way, we do the landscape design without professional help we design a composition on our own and then implement it. Every night before going to sleep, we prepare a plan of activities for tomorrow: plant a new tree in the garden, make a slide at the children’s playground, restore a ship replica... plenty of things to be done. However, since the moment when tourism became part of our lives, we have never had the slightest desire to quit. On the contrary, when you get acquainted with new fine people, see their animated eyes it inspires you to move further, it makes your life brighter, beautiful and happy.