RFA: What about you?
Husband: On the mountain, we took care of four other North Koreans. We depended on and helped one another. At that time, we were all we had in the whole world. I felt like we were the only people on earth. Now, I have come to South Korea. In South Korea, there are a lot of things to think about. I have to catch up with other people. At that time, all I needed were three meals a day. I still miss that simple life.
RFA: How did you come to South Korea, after two years of life in the cave?
Husband: If there had been only two of us, we still could have lived there. But I took care of four more North Koreans who did not have any place to go, just because I felt so bad about them. I knew how to survive. But, as I accepted more people, the word spread in the town. When North Koreans arrived from other towns, people would tell them that we are living in the mountains, helping other North Koreans. So they came to us to look for work and food. One day, I got a call from the police station, saying I was causing too much trouble and the Chinese Police would start an inspection on us.
RFA: So you had to leave the hole. I am sure you needed money for the trip.
Wife: We did not have any money. So we sold the dogs we had.
Husband: I did not know in the beginning, but the dog we had was a hunting dog. It was a big female dog. There were seven dogs in a factory owned by a South Korean man and we let our dog get in there without anyone knowing. Since then, the dog went to the factory every night. After a while, our dog gave birth.
RFA: How many puppies did the dog have?
Husband: Our dog had six puppies. I was so happy. But what was strange was the dog stopped feeding her puppies after 20 days. Dogs usually feed their puppies for a good 30 days. So we bought milk and gave it to the puppies.
RFA: So you went to the town and bought milk to feed the puppies?
Wife: We did not just feed the puppies milk. We also bought corn powder and mixed it with the milk.
RFA: It is hard to understand. You were living in the hole but still bought milk for puppies. Was it because you wanted to sell the puppies or because you just felt sympathetic?
Wife: Of course it was because of the sympathy. I was sick and I needed milk. But I fed the milk to the puppies instead. Then the puppy story spread all over the town, and people wanted to buy our puppies. A deer farm owner wanted one and so on. We took good care of the puppies. In China, a dog costs 50-60 yuan, but we sold our puppies at 150-170 yuan.
RFA: After all, the puppies provided money go to go South Korea?
Wife: Yes. I thought God made this happen. How could I think about having a dog?
Husband: Some people are just lucky. Whatever we did, we were able to get some money.
RFA: How do you feel after coming to South Korea?
Husband: It is a free country. In China, we always thought we would die if we were caught. But we don’t think about that any more here. The purpose of coming to South Korea is to live freely without being constantly meddled with. In China, no matter how hard we worked, we got only half the salary other people get, if any. But it is different here.
But since we came to South Korea, our religious beliefs have got weaker. When we were in a difficult situation, we prayed all the time and depended on God. But we don’t do it as often as we did. I have come to think that the heaven in the Bible is South Korea.
Husband: Where is Heaven? This is Heaven.
Original reporting by Jinseo Lee. RFA Korean service director: Jae-hoon Ahn. Produced for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie.