We see a man standing near this large building staring at us with his mouth open. We go up to him and ask him what is going on here and who he is? He tells us with a surprised voice that he is Mayor Karol Hutten Chapski and that we are looking at the new city theatre, which is finally being built thanks to the generosity of the Minsk people! Ahhhh THE Count Chapski, the dude from Alivaryia Beer Company, we whisper softly to one another.
He immediately asks us who we are and what exactly is this extraordinary thing we just exited? For the first time ever we hear excitement instead of a shock when we introduce ourselves (and our time machine Grisha), especially when we mention that we are from the year 2017 and on a mission to discover important moments in the history of Belarus. With a lot of excitement he tells us that it is the first time he has ever met someone from the future and a time machine. Wow this man is truly ahead of his time.
Chapski asks us what we can tell him about the theatre and whether it’s still standing in 2017? We look at it and immediately recognize the shape.. So we tell him that it does look familiar and that he is remembered as the coolest mayor Minsk ever had, who once owned Alivaryia Beer Company, and that did some very good things for Minsk and its people. He looks at us with a smile and says, that could have been worse, right?!
Barely able to close the door, we squeezing into Grisha and land a short time after in front of a wooden house. As we step out of Grisha, we see a young boy sitting in front of the house writing something on a piece of paper. So this must be Janka Kupala, the boy that is to become the greatest Belarusian language writer and poet of the 20th century!
So here we are standing in Maladzyechna accompanied by the greatest Mayor and reformist Minsk has ever seen, Count Chapski, and we are looking at a young Janka Kupala possibly writing one of his famous Belarusian poems. This little boy will soon become a great poet helping to preserve Belarusian folklore and its language. Not only was Kupala talented but also very courageous. Writing in the Belarusian language was banned at the time and publishing books in Belarusian was nearly impossible.
Again we hear Grisha chirping at us.
‘From Forebears' Ages, Long Since Gone.
I bear it in my living soul
Like torch-flame ever bright for me,
That through deaf darkness to my goal,
Midst vandals it may lighten me.
With it lives my thought-family.
Bringing dreams of sincerity . . .
And its name, all-in-all must be
My native land, my heritage.’
As we stood silently together, goose bumps covering our arms, Mayor Chapski breaks the silence, looks at Janka Kupala and says, ‘This is a true man of the Belarusian people. I am very proud that the theatre will one day be named after this young boy.’ We both nod in agreement.
Realising that it was our time to go, we drop Mayor Chapski back in Minsk and say our emotional goodbyes. Back in our time machine we could not stop talking about our amazement for the two great men we just met. Both of them representing the creative power of Belarusians in different ways!