My pen name is Michalina Okun. I have been traveling around Belarus for many years, almost every weekend I traveled by train and hitchhiking to different parts of our native country, photographed houses, window frames, people, cats, Holy springs, cemeteries, videotaped folk rituals, religious holidays, folklore festivals, Belarusian dances, singing, etc. I have a large archive of photos and videos.
I have a large archive of photo and video materials, which I partially posted on my Facebook, so I am known as a Belarusian traveler.
Only once I took a break from traveling from August 2020 to winter 2021, when I went to protest actions in Minsk, attended meetings and concerts in Minsk courtyards. I was on Orlovskaya when they dispersed with flash-bang grenades, at the dispersal of the action in the courtyard of change where Roman Bondarenko was killed. Some of my videos on Facebook, which later had to be removed, were published in the Belarusian media and foreign channels. This history of our struggle is also preserved in my archive. I successfully escaped from the actions and never got caught.
In June of this year, my Facebook page, which I renamed several times, was noticed by a well-known informer, info-kazachka Olga Bondareva. The KGB started looking for me, and I had to quickly evacuate from Belarus.
Now I found myself in Poland. Miraculously I managed to bring my photo-video archive here. I would very much like to process it, as many people are interested in it, including professional folklorists. I would like to make my own website, YouTube channel, photo exhibitions, and I also have an idea to publish postcards with Belarusian village landscapes.
For this I need a good laptop. I need to pay for housing and work on my archive, but I don't have a permanent job here yet and I don't have the financial means to do so. I would also like to continue my travels in Belarussian Bialystochina and Belarussian folklore festivals in Poland, so I want to have a good camera.
How much is needed?
Laptop for photo and video processing — about €1300;
Professional camera with a lens, for taking photos and videos — €1500;
Room rent for 3 months — €1050