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Marina, saleswoman at the market on Lukyanivska (subway)

Marina sells a diversity of delicious cheese, condiments, and sauces at the Lukyanivska market. Many of our friends and acquaintances go to the market on Lukyanivka to buy groceries; that’s why they know Marina personally. We managed to record the interview on the second attempt because there was a huge queue of customers the first time. Somebody comes here especially for her cheese, someone lives nearby, somebody works beside.

Marina comes to her workplace about 12:00, seldom in the morning.

“My name is Marina. I’ve lived in Ukraine for seven years. I moved here to help my son and Georgian relatives; I didn’t know how long I would stay. Our relatives live in the village Kantakuzivka in the Cherkasy region. We buy milk and make cheese. We have a garden, where we grow vegetables, prepare homemade adjika and various sauces. Everything is transferred to me from the village to Kyiv. I can grind them right behind the counter when the condiments run out because I have a coffee grinder and all the ingredients. Sometimes customers are interested in watching the process, so the person is ready to wait. For example, the khmeli-suneli consists of eight components, and I have all of them here. I add fresh garlic, rub it with condiments between my palms for 30 minutes - and that’s it. It's not necessary to be dry.

While Marina told us about herself, she occasionally communicated with the passers-by, trying to sell her something. One of such passers-by was selling lids and stopped beside our counter.

— Do you need lids? I have big and small ones.

— Show me, what do you have?

— Here, a package of big lids cost 25 hryvnias (UAN). I also have small ones for mayonnaise.

— Thanks, I don’t need them.

I’m a native of Kutaisi, from the Imereti region. It is my place of power on this planet. It is my home and land. It doesn't count if you have an apartment in Georgia because we always keep in touch with first and second cousins. So, it has to be a big house, to accommodate the guests. They never ask, can we come or not? They just come at any time. It can even be 3 a.m. We are really hospitable. There is a piano in almost every house, and 80 percent of the population can play it.

— I was wondering, do you have a little box?

— No, I don’t.

Till my forty, I was a piano teacher. (I graduated from music college and then the conservatory). Then the rebuilding started, and I followed my daughter in Moscow while finishing medical college. Many people have moved abroad from Georgia to make ends and have a job. Easy money is hard to earn, but you will get your golden chance if you do your best. Nowadays, my daughter lives in Italy, and I’m glad to be here - next to my son. He has been living here for 15 years, moved here by the invitation of friends, and started his business. And now I help him by selling at the market. Wherever my children are, I follow them. I have to be there.

In Kyiv, I live at the Kurenivka in a five-storey building. I really appreciate being in Kyiv. People here are warm-hearted and kind. I can say they are genuinely welcoming, and we are very much alike. My neighbors are my frequent guests. We help each other and chat a lot. I’ve been studying Russian at school since childhood. However, I didn’t learn to speak it well. I partly understand the Ukrainian language, but not so well.

Is Kyiv big? I don’t know. I think it’s big. It has the same amount of people as in the whole of Georgia. The population of our country was four million before, although now it is three million because many of Georgians went abroad.

Simultaneously with our conversation about Kyiv, a woman approached us, and while eavesdropping on our dialogue, she shared her story with us:

— You know, I once lived in Moscow, it’s a huge city. And usually, you remember only your area. So, when guests arrived, they walked all over the city and told us about different interesting places. At that time, our life consisted of only work and home, or kindergarten and home. We rarely went somewhere, always spending time in our area. And the same is in Kyiv.

Five customers approached Marina within 30 minutes of the conversation, and each of them ordered suluguni cheese.

The main thing in our life - is love, love between people, not just in a couple.

When there is love and respect, everything will be fine. My husband died two years ago, at the age of 71, because of heart disease. He lived between the two countries: Georgia-Ukraine.

I can't say that I am severe, and I don’t consider myself a ”granny” but I like a more traditional way of living. A man should be a man. A woman is a woman. Young people have to understand that, instead of choosing all this free life.

In my country, a woman cooks, but a man doesn’t.

A man can heat food, but the kitchen is not his territory. I don’t like when man butting in kitchen businesses - he works, I cook. And I like cooking very much.

From Ukrainian cuisine, I like stuffed cabbage and borsh from Ukrainian cuisine, but without meat. We don’t add sour cream or cream, as you do, because it is very fatty. In our Georgian cuisine, we often add nuts. I like satsivi very much. This morning, I made eggplants with nuts, spinach with nuts. Some buyers ask for these dishes. Restaurants also buy various sauces, like adjika and spices. Among the cheeses, my favorites are Imereti and Suluguni.

It’s not a problem to get on the market and rent a place here. The main question is where to find work besides market and selling. My health doesn’t allow me more than I can. I think the market is my cup of coffee. Here I can chat with people. However, at my age, speaking with people is very important. I’m 64 years old".


If you want to find Marina’s point in the market, you need to go to the nearest entrance from the subway and turn right. Next to the rows with pomegranate juice, there is a cheese counter. If you get confused, write to us on social networks, and we will help you find it.

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