Six-year-old Gabrielle and five-year-old Lazare meet me near the house. The boys bombard me with questions: “Ma’am, do your children drink green lemonade? Do you often buy it to them? Will you bring it to us too? You know, I like green lemonade, and Gabriel likes the red one! Will you play football with us - look, we have a ball! It is torn, but you can still kick it. Wait, I'll fix it now! "
While Gabriel is fixing the ball, I go into the house where the babies - two-year-old Mariam and eight-month-old Giorgi - are crying in the arms of their 28-year-old mother Liana.
Liana: I am sorry, they will calm down now, I will give them some bread.
Liana: It became particularly hard when little Giorgi was born. I don’t have breast milk, so now a significant part of our family's money is spent on infant formula.
- What do you live on?
Liana: Allowance of 440 GEL. This is all our income! My husband is a sick man, he cannot work, though he does not stay idle. He gathers metal at landfills and sells it for scarp. When he manages to earn some money, he buys lemonade for the children. Then there is a real fest in our family! But usually we have just buckwheat or pasta. A soup made of it. I cook one large pot of soup and we eat it for two days ... What else can we do? There is no other way.
- I know, the children say they love lemonade ...
Liana: Oh, there are so many things they don't know! My poor kids! They had to learn what poverty and hunger were since their early age. They have no clothes to go to kindergarten and school, no toys, no food.
- Liana, I see that there is almost no furniture in your house. Where do your big family sleep?
Liana: The only furniture we have here is a bed and a sofa. I sleep on the bed together with the children. The sofa is quite small, my husband Vladimir sleeps there. He constantly suffers headaches, so it is difficult for him to sleep together with the children.
- What happened to Vladimir? Why does he have these headaches?
Liana: My husband had a head injury 7 years ago, he had to be operated on, but there was no money. Since then he has been suffering terrible headaches and cannot work. We have been living in desperate poverty for many years, but now our life has become very hard. The worst thing is that we cannot give our children the basic things they need. Now we do not have enough money even to buy proper food for the children, while there are so many other things they need. They want toys, sweets, our elder son already asks for a computer, but we cannot afford any of these.
- What do you need first of all for your children?
Liana: Most of all, I want my children to receive education and to get out of this poverty. Children need to go to the kindergarten and school, but we can't even buy any proper clothes for them. It is very painful to realize this, but I cannot find a way out.
- Liana, does any of your relatives help you?
Liana: We have almost none of our relatives left. We have an uncle, but he has no opportunity to help us. The elder children help us with the babies. Maybe it’s hard to believe that it is possible to get along in such a small space, but we live very amicably. The children stand for each other firmly. We have only one daughter, Mariam, the rest are boys, they are best friends. The guys love Mari very much, they take care of her. It is gratifying to see this, but my heart breaks because I realize that we cannot give our children a normal childhood.
- Let me ask a few questions to one of the children. Who is the most sociable of them?
Liana: Talk to Gabriel, he is a shy boy, but, I think he can tell you something.
- Hello Gabriel! Your mom says you are a talented boy. What do you like doing?
Gabriel (6-year-old): Most of all I like to fix things and dig! Come and I’ll show you how I can dig! When I grow up, I will become a builder, I will build a big beautiful house for my mother and Mariam!
- Won’t you build a house for yourself?
Gabriel: I don’t know, I want a car! I want to go far away!
- Do you want to see your country - Georgia? Do you know that there are many, many beautiful places in Georgia?
Gabriel: Yes, I want to see Georgia, it’s interesting to see new places. When you come next time and bring me some lemonade, and I’ll draw a car for my trip.
- Gabrielle, what else do you like doing? What are you dreaming about?
Gabriel: I dream of riding a bike. I see the guys racing in the yard, they gave me a try. I think I can go far by bike too. I also like to walk in the yard and play football. My ball has got torn, but I will fix it!
- Do you play toys? What toys would you like to play?
Gabriel: Actually, toys are for babies, and I'm already big. I would love to play cars though. I also want a tablet. I have tried to draw on it. You can also play and watch cartoons there, it's a lot of fun.
After these words, Gabriel lowered his head, wiped away his tears and said sadly: "But I know I will never have that, my parents are poor."
A lump came to my throat, I could no longer speak with this little boy, I could not find the words to cheer him up...
- Liana, could you please tell me about the moments of joy that help you to live today?
Liana: Of course, my faith in God helps me to live. I keep believing and praying that the Lord will not leave our children. Every day it becomes more difficult to rejoice, but when I see the amicable relations between the children, it warms my heart.
- Liana, how can we help you? What does your family need first of all?
Liana: The most important thing for us is food so that the children don't be hungry. Little Giorgi needs baby formula and diapers. It will be great if you can help us with clothes for the boys, then I will not be so ashamed to send my children to school and kindergarten. For sure, the children will be happy with any toys, because, as you can see, we have nothing here.
- I see you have no home appliances either. What do you think, which appliances would make your life easier?
Liana: Oh, thank you for bringing this up yourself. A washing machine would help me, because you know, washing by hand is not easy. Of course, I would like to have a TV to know about things happening in the world, but this is quite a luxury.
- Liana, do you believe in the kindness of people? Do you believe that strangers can help each other?
Liana: Of course, I do. There have been lots of situations in my life when I thought I would no longer be able to believe in human kindness, but the resentments go away, and the heart believes again in a better future. I know there are a lot of good people in Georgia, and this is what has helped Georgia in the most difficult times. I believe in human kindness and in God, it gives me strength.
Dear friends, we have told you another story about a wonderful family. You have not heard about them and could not help them. But now you know about them! Their life can change dramatically, and it depends only on us now!
Address of the Alkhazov family: Gardabani Municipality,village Krtsanisi, country houses of Ministry of Internal Affairs. Phone: 593 601 652. If you cannot visit them call them by phone.
There are four wonderful children in the family from an 8-month-old baby to a 6-year-old boy. The children need computers, home appliances, clothing, toys, and even food! These are the children we are proud of, they are our future! We should not remain indifferent to the troubles of this family, we will show our mercy and care, all together we will help them as much as we can, showing them all our love and mercy!
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