I have often thought about the story of Agafia. She was born in the Russian (Siberian) Taiga. In one of the most remote and inhospitable regions of the world.
Her mother and father fled into the wilderness to escape the religious persecution of Stalin and the Communists. She and her three siblings lived in complete isolation for 40 years before geologists found them in the late 70s. Aside from the melancholy feel of all documentaries about Agafia, (the last surviving member of her family), there is a lot of room for contemplation when hearing her story.
First of all, when Stalin was murdering huge numbers of people, an out of control government appeared to be killing on a massive scale and at an unpredictable and random manner. At certain points of Stalin’s reign, I am sure that no one could have predicted who would be next in front firing squad. Agafia’s family may have been very wise to have quietly slipped into the wilderness to escape the madness of the day.
The price they paid for doing so may have been too much for some people and just right for others. It really is up to personal choice. I am almost certain the decision of Agafia’s family saved the lives of the children, but what quality of life did they actually have? Was it a good one or one or a life not really worth living? Again that is up to each individual to consider.
But the point I mean to bring up about all of this is that governments have gone crazy in the past and have turned on populations. It’s happened before and will probably happen again. If you are a member of some kind of minority especially, you may one day find yourself with the authorities knocking at your door wanting to take you away.
The Japanese and German Americans who were taken to prison camps during WW2 were a good example of how people were forced to leave their homes with nothing but what they could carry in suit cases. They found themselves personally held responsible for world events that had really nothing to do with them, and when they returned they mostly found any and all assets they had before had been sold off so that even after the war ended they were still left with only what they could carry.
But more extreme examples can be found. The Jews in Nazi Germany of course. Yet how many of them would have been prepared to run to the bush before being carted off on trains? If they had had the means and ability to walk away and still survive, how many would have chosen to believe the authorities that all would be well eventually and that they would one day return home?
And since those times, there have been countless other and even more horrific examples of government and economic deprivation in other countries that have limited people’s ability to choose to walk away and it cost them their lives.
These are extreme examples, of course, and one would hope that nothing like that would ever happen in the country in which you live.
But if you think you see some writing on the wall one day, consider the idea of how you will be able give yourself and your family choices if the necessity ever arose? And how much would it really take to walk into the woods on just a mere suspicion or feeling, and never return?
What can we learn from Agafia?
Some things I learned about from watching some Agafia videos are that:
-her father missed salt the most from civilization. Yet they were so close to Mongolia one would have thought they could have traveled there to trade and interact with others like the nomads who had better resources and supply lines to salt, flour or other resources. It occurs to me that maybe Mongolia was controlled by the Soviets at the time. I’ll have to check my history on that.
-They could have used a good edible plant guidebook. Just eating nuts and potatoes probably killed their mother, and just about killed them all. The fact her mother starved with so many fish in the stream is a mystery to me.
-One family with children of child bearing age is not enough to start a new and viable community.
-Even though it is said to be inhospitable, one would think there would be a lot of game to hunt. Agafia does have a gun so just how they were able to get ammo over all those years is another mystery to me. Is it possible they ran out and for a time before contact could not hunt? If so, then they could have used a good trapping and primitive weapon making reference guide.