– Maria, let's first get to know your large family.
– There are eight of us: my husband Sergo, 40 years old, my mother Lydia, 74 years old, my children: 12-year-old Nikita, 11-year-old Nikolai, six-year-old Yura, four-year-old Anna-Maria, two-year-old Ilya and me, 36-year-old Maria. Any day now, we are waiting for another baby to be born!
– Congratulations! Aren't you afraid to give birth at such a difficult time – during a pandemic?
– I am, very much… But, everything is in the hands of God! I believe that he will not leave us and that everything will be fine with me and the baby…
– You speak with such a tremor in your voice, what else is bothering you?
– Fear... But the fear is not for the upcoming birth, but for the future of the baby, for the future of all my other children. We, the parents, can't even feed them properly… My Sergo takes on everything, agrees to any job for an extra penny… And now... with this virus, we don't even have money for food...
The children live in a damp house: water pours from all the walls… I'm afraid for the children's health…
This fear is eating me so much that I can't breathe… Our life has no joy... Only my children and faith in God are keeping me afloat! All I think about is their future, what will happen to them…
I'm sick: because of stress I have diabetes of group II... I am very afraid to die, but not for myself. Do you trust me? I am afraid for the children: who will need them all… (Maria could not restrain her tears and wept bitterly)
– Do you need treatment, medication?
–The doctors have prescribed some... But do I have time and opportunity to think about myself? I don't. I'd rather buy food for the children, and me...! (Maria waved her hand!) And my mother refuses medical help too… And she's almost dying!
– What has happened to your mother?
– She has a heart disease since childhood, and now she is already 74 years old. She needs medicine, but she is literally sacrificing herself for my children; she refuses to buy medicine, so that the kids could have a piece of bread!
– Where do you take money for living?
– We receive a social allowance in the amount of 600 lari. This is our only income. I distribute this amount for a small amount of food, a small portion of medicine, and utility expenses. That's all what it suffices for…
– Is this your house?
– Yes, my father left this house to my mother… But it was long ago. Very long ago. But it came in handy. Now mother and I are dying in here.
There are many rooms in the house, but they are filled with water and are not suitable for living. We all live in this room. There are 30 square meters here.
– When did this horror begin? Was there no happiness at all?!
– Of course not. There's no reason to complain. I had Sergo's love and my children… See how nice they are! Isn't that true happiness? I look at them and pray. I believe that the Lord will not leave us! Never!
And grief came on suddenly and long ago! My husband lost his job… Well, there was a lot more… And we're not the only ones. You know that. I don't want people who will read this to suffer. I don't want to talk about bad things.
Grief is different, but happiness is one. Let your readers be happy! Tell them so.
– So tell us about the good: About your love with Sergo…
– It was a really happy time... (finally Maria's face lit up with a smile). I was 20 years old and worked at a bread factory. And Sergo worked there, too. We met at work, started texting each other, and after a while short we got married.
Sergo has excellent qualities: he had inherited his masculinity from his father, a military man, and he gave me the care I had missed since I was a child… My father left my family (my mother, my sister and me), and never thought of us again during all these years. The only thing that remained after him is this dilapidated house.
Sergo has been always treating me with much care! We are really happy and I don't regret anything! Even though it is very difficult for us now, and the children need literally everything, but I would not connect my life with anyone else! He, my mother and my children are my happiness, my God-sent true love!
– Tell us about the children.
Maria's face lit up with a genuine and proud smile.
– Oh, they are my joy and hope. All of them are extraordinary! The eldest, 12-year-old Nikita, is a very athletic boy who dreams of becoming a famous karate player. He used go in for karate. We didn't pay for it: it was free for us, we are a socially vulnerable family. Nikita had excellent results. But it was necessary to buy sports uniforms, eat properly, and we could not afford that and my boy stopped attending the training. That's how we deprived him of his dream… But believe me, we just couldn't help it…
11-year-old Yura loves to study. He sits at the table for hours studying, and we often lack notebooks and pens. He keeps asking us to buy new ones, but we can't… Then he sits and solves math problems out loud. It is so funny and bitter at the same time...
– Do your children go to school or kindergarten?
– Of course, the elder ones, Nikita, Nikolai and Yura – go to school, and the younger ones, Anna-Maria and Ilya – go to kindergarten.
– Do you manage to treat them to something delicious at least once in a while?
– I try my best, but mostly I can't do it. Now we have only flour and beans in our house. Children are already swollen because they only eat bread, macaroni and boiled beans…
– Let me talk to the kids now. Nikolai (11 years old), what do you want to become?
Nikolai (11 years old): I would like to become a football player! My football team is the coolest in the yard. I always want to play football with my friends and to be in the yard, and sometimes my mom scolds me for that and makes me read books.
– Don't you like studying and reading books?
Nikolai (11 years old): No, I'm so bored at that time… Just so that my mother doesn't get upset, sometimes I sit down and read.
– Do you have a favorite protagonist?
Nikolai (11 years old): Yes, Batman is. He's as strong as our daddy.
– And do you like listening to fairy tales? Does your mother tell you them?
Nikolai (11 years old): No, I'm already a big boy. Before, when I was small, my grandmother used to tell us a story about three piglets before going to bed, this was our favorite fairy tale. Grandma called the piglets our names, and we laughed so that the stomach started to hurt (laughs).
Now, grandma sings Ukrainian and sometimes Georgian lullabies before going to bed for Anna-Marie (4 years old) and Ilya (2 years old). I fall asleep immediately when I listen to my grandmother singing. When she sings, it's a miracle! As if... Hmm.... (thinks) like you're in a Church.
– Why "like in a Church"?
Nikolai (11 years old): We go to Church on weekends and they sing so beautifully… And grandma's singing is like singing in Church. Her voice is very warm and clear.
-Do you often go to the Temple?
Nikolai (11 years old): Yes, often, every weekend. We pray for our parents, for our brothers and sister, and for our grandmother that they may be healthy and stay with us for a long time. And sometimes the priest gives us sweets in the Church…
– Nikolai, what do you think you lack for happiness?
Nikolai (11 years old): Well...I don't know…
– What is happiness for you, what makes you happy?
Nikolai (11 years old): Well, for example... (thinks) When, for example, Anne-Marie starts laughing and we all start laughing together. This is happiness, isn't it? Sometimes our grandmother calls us "her happiness". When we run to her, she meets us with her warm, outstretched arms and starts hugging and kissing us.
– Can you draw?
Nikolai (11 years old): A little, not as good as my brothers and Anna-Maria. And you know, our mother teaches us to draw – she is just like a real artist, she does everything so beautiful!
– These pictures that you have on the wall, were they all drawn by your brothers and Anna-Maria?
Nikolai (11 years old): Yes, and by mom. But she never has time to draw…
– Yes, very cool! So beautiful drawings… Have you ever been to the sea?
Nikolai (11 years old): No, never.
– What do you think it is like?
Nikolai (11 years old): I think it is very big, blue and there are a lot of different big and small fish inside.
– Like what?
Nikolai (11 years old): Like a shark. There are also other various fish and mermaids.
– Mermaids? What is a mermaid like?
Nikolai (11 years old): They probably have the same golden hair as my mother. I love playing with my mother's blond curls… They are so beautiful and long. Have you seen them?
– Yes, I've seen her hair, it is very beautiful. Your mother must be very kind.
Nikolai (11 years old): Of course! It is very, very good!
– And which of the children does your mother love the most?
Nikolai (11 years old): My mother loves us all in the same way!
– Do you know that our country, Georgia, is a sea country?
Nikolai (11 years old): No, what does it mean?
– It means that Georgia has direct access to the Black Sea and this is our great advantage, in short.
Nikolai (11 years old): Ah! I also know such countries, for example, Italy.
– Yes! Right you are! How do you imagine the waves?
Nikolai (11 years old): Well... I don't know… I could try to explain. Our PT teacher always tells us that when we play football, we need to ma...nu... mane…
Nikolai (11 years old): Yes, Yes, we need to be mane... Well, we need to be like waves, we need to be fast, agile and make clean movements.
– What was your most interesting dream?
Nikolai (11 years old): Oh! I remember! And I'll tell you! I dreamed that my soccer team won the world Cup. After winning, I returned home with the gold Cup in my hands, wet and dirty from head to toe. I started screaming and crying. Daddy was sitting in the kitchen, reading the newspaper. He looked at me and guessed what had happened. Daddy picked me up and started kissing me, and he was screaming and crying too. Everyone was surprised and started entering the kitchen and asking – what was going on? Why are you shouting?.. Then we all laughed and danced and sang. This is the best dream I've ever had.
– Who do you love the most and why?
Nikolai (11 years old) – I love everyone equally, my parents always say that we need to love everyone in the same way.
– Nikolai, what would you wish other Georgian children?
Nikolai (11 years old): I wish them good parents, good grades and many, many toys.
– And what would you like for yourself?
Nikolai (11 years old): A bicycle. Mine is old and broken. Sometimes my friends in the yard compete on bicycles, and I look at them and really want to participate in the race too. My brothers are also very fond of cycling. So I would like a new bike.
– Nikita (12 years old), we have already talked to Nikolai. Come on, you can tell us about yourself, too.
Tamuna (12 years old): I am a karateka. I train all day and night.
– Do you want to become a famous sportsman? I see you have a lot of different awards…
Nikita (12 years old): Yes, I won a lot of tournaments! I'm a good karateka, but I've given up now… I needed a uniform, but my dad doesn't work now and I don't attend karate classes anymore… But I will definitely become a famous karateka! You'll see! All famous athletes like Ronaldo or Messi have a lot of money. I will also have a lot of money and I will be able to help my father so that he does not have to work, and I will buy everything for my mother, and for my brothers and Anna-Maria.
– How do you study?
Nikita (12 years old): Well, so-so. My teacher often gives me A's, but sometimes I get a C. (He lowered his voice to a whisper) Don't tell mom, she shouldn't worry.
– Why not?
Nikita (12 years old): She is pregnant!
(little Andrew was born 2 days after the interview)
– Are you helping her?
Nikita (12 years old): Sometimes when she and daddy need to leave, I look after my brothers and sister. I really like taking care of them. They listen to me. When I play with them, they don't cry or get cranky.
– Do you have a best friend?
Nikita (12 years old): Yes, I have three of them: Aleko, Kakha and George. We go to school together in the morning. We play together during recess. Sometimes I don't have enough money to buy a raisin bun from the school cafeteria, so they buy it for me. Then we sit on the Desk, eat, play and have fun. Very often, the teacher gives us tasks from the Internet. I don't have a computer. My friend, Aleko, took me to his house, and we did our homework together.
– Nikolai told me that you draw very well…
Nikita (12 years old): Yes, my mother says that I took after her… She is a real artist and grieves that she does not have time to draw. But she teaches us everything, shows us how to draw lines correctly, what color to choose…
– Have you already found the most beautiful girl in your class? Maybe you even drew her?
Nikita (12 years): Nooo, I need more time…
– Have you ever thought at what age you will get married and how many children you will have?
Nikita (12 years old): Well... (confused) I didn't think about it.
– And who do you love the most?
Nikita (12 years old): I love everyone: my mother, father, grandmother, all my brothers and Anna-Maria. They're the best people in the world!
– Yura (6 years old), will you talk to me? –Tell me, do you have a favorite toy?
Yura (6 years old): My father gave me a typewriter for my birthday. This car is my favorite toy.
– Who is your favorite cartoon character?
Lika (6 years old): Shrack! He is fun, funny and strong. His skin is green, like a crocodile's.
– Yura, what do you want to become?
Lika (6 years old): I'll be a cosmonaut.
– Why so?
Yura (6 years old): Cosmonauts can fly, when they leave our planet, they move to other planets. Hmm.... (thinks). They can see the stars up close. They probably use black glasses, because the stars are very large and light, if you look at them without glasses, your eyes can get sick.
Hmm.... (thinks). Astronauts make friends with aliens, when astronauts visit other countries in space, alien friends meet them.
– What is an alien like?
Yura (6 years old): They are very large and have long arms and legs.
– Did you dream about them?
Yura (6 years old): I never dreamt about aliens, but one day, I had a dream about Santa Claus. He had a long and white moustache, like snow, this size (shows with his hands). He gave me a lot of toys. And cars and dolls for Anna-Maria.
– Yura, thank you for the answers, you are a very smart boy. Now I will talk to Anna-Maria (4 years old). I've heard so much about her…
Anna-Maria (4 years old): Hello, aunty.
– Hello, Anna-Maria. You are so beautiful!
Anna-Maria (4 years old): Yes, I am a real princess.
– And it is true! Do you have a beautiful princess dress?
Anna-Maria (4 years old): Yes, my grandmother made me a real princess dress: red, like Aurora's… Princesses also sing and draw, and my mother teaches me how to draw and to sing.
– Can you draw?
Anna-Maria (4 years old): Yes, I draw very well. Grandma says that I am "clever with my hands" and my mother always praises me.
– What do you like to draw the most?
Anna-Maria (4 years old): Flowers, butterflies and princesses. I drew a Scarlet Flower and gave it to my mother. She stuck it on the wall where all our drawings are.
– You have hair like a princess, too. Who braids your pretty hair?
Anna-Maria (4 years old): Mummy. She does my hair differently every day. My mother told me in secret that my hair calms her down. That's what I am – calming.
– Do you go to a kindergarten?
Anna-Maria (4 years old): (Sadly) I don't go to kindergarten anymore, now I'm at home all the time.
– Do you miss it?
Anna-Maria (4 years old): Yes, it was fun, we all played and sang.
– What would you like to receive as a gift?
Anna-Maria (4 years old): A beautiful doll and clothes for her. I've seen girls have these little "Lol" dolls: they have little clothes and bottles. And they live in small balls and there are many more surprises of different kinds… I also want such dolls, I asked my mother, but she hasn't bought them for me yet… Probably later…
– And let's ask Ilya (2 years old) what he wants as a gift.
But Ilya ran away and hid somewhere…
Anna-Maria (4 years old): He is shy (laughing). If you ask me , I'll tell you for him.
– What could we give Ilya? What will he be most happy about?
Anna-Maria (4 years old): Certainly cars! And if you bring him a big car that you can sit in – it will be such a surprise for him! Will you bring cars for him? And dolls for me? Don't forget!
– Of course, I will not forget, and we will bring many other gifts! Now we'll ask your mother again:
– Maria, you have a very important event ahead of you – you will become a mother for the sixth time! How can we help you in this regard, what do you need urgently?
– For the baby, we have many things that remained from Anna-Maria and Ilya. Friends gave us an old stroller and it's broken… Sergo did his best but couldn't fix it. And we don't have a crib for the baby, probably it will sleep with us…
– We'll take care of it, but what do you need for your home, for yourself?
– My dream is a washing machine! So many children and so much laundry every day! I have to wash in a basin, with my stomach! I'm just dying… And when the baby is born I won't be able to do it at all… And a refrigerator to keep the food from spoiling. We are eight people and we make food for the future, but there is no place to store it.
But the most important thing is a computer for the children. They are now given school assignments from the Internet, and without a computer, they cannot learn. Summer is coming and we don't have a refrigerator… It is inconvenient to ask so much, but once you have asked…
– Maria, what do you dream of the most?
– Oh, I don't know what to say… I have so many dreams! So that my mother doesn't get sick and stays with me and her grandchildren as long as possible. So that we can finally get out of this need and not deny children in every little thing… So that we have a beautiful, clean and bright house… Probably everything that everyone dreams of…
Friends, as you can see, the large Shamov family is in extreme need. To survive, the family is in dire need of food, medicines, furniture and household appliances!
Let's support them, show mercy, give the children a chance to develop normally and have a happy childhood. You can personally visit this family and provide assistance. The children and their parents will be merely happy! Call Maria, find out about her needs, cheer her up, support her, tell her that she is not alone and that nobody will leave them alone in their trouble! It is very important.
Here is their address: Tbilisi, 12 Ujarmskaya St. Tel: 558 18 67 83
Dear friends, Chernovetskyi Fund initiates a charitable action: to help the Shamov family. As you know, the Fund does not stop at one-time assistance. Without children, the country and people have no future. Take care of the younger generation! Help them survive! "Write them down" as your relatives. And we are sure that the Lord himself will bless you.
And be sure to repost our publication. Let all your friends know about the grief of this family! It is very important.
God gives us the opportunity to take care of people who are not able to do it themselves. Not all people are the same. And not everyone is as kind as we are. Please, do not pass aside the sorrow of others! Unhappy people are given to us from above so that we can prove our faith to the Almighty not in words but in deeds!
Friends, there is one more request, if you know about the misfortune of a neighbor or friend, do a Charitable deed, write to us by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Fund account
(purpose: Shamov family).
You can also transfer money from our website.
You can as well transfer money from the terminals of OPPA, TBCpay and ExpressPay. Find our Fund in "Charity" section. (You can learn about the additional rights and obligations of the Fund by following the link https://goo.gl/GY2Gus).
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Let's think that by helping others, we take care of our own souls and draw closer to the Lord through the very sufferings that we experience for others!