- Lela, dear, don’t be so upset. Tell me, what has happened to you?
Lela: I could never think that I would be left alone with the children. We used to be well off, my husband and I lived in love and joy in Tbilisi!
I never took seriously the phrase: “Man proposes, God disposes!” But when my husband went bankrupt, he started drinking heavily and left us homeless. He used to have his own store, but then he went bankrupt and began to take all his anger out on me and the children.
He got into debt, began to drink heavily. Sometimes he even smashed furniture and threw it at me ... (Cries.) I endured all this for a long time, tried to put myself in his shoes, I thought that it would not last long, that everything would get better again, and we would live peacefully as before. I often dream and my dreams are sometimes beautiful, but when everything around begins to collapse, I don't know how I can get through it all. My husband took us to another part of Georgia, to his parents’ house in the village of Martvili. Our youngest daughter Mari was only 18 months old then.
But my husband did not succeed at the new place either, and he began to drink even more! So we started to quarrel more often!
Then little Mari fell sick, she had constant fevers with vomiting. I urgently took Mari back to Tbilisi, and we went to the clinic. It's scary to remember that the doctors barely managed to save her!
While we were in hospital, my husband left us, and he was no longer in our life. I don't even know what to call the situation we find ourselves now...
- Lela, does your ex-husband take part in the life of the children in any way, does he help with anything?
Lela: No, unfortunately. No help so far. Oh, if you only knew how sorry my baby is about this! (Cries) If she met him in the street, she would not recognize him. She often looks jealously and longingly how other dads take their children from the kindergarten. Several times Mari asked unknown men from the balcony: "Are you my dad?" It drives me crazy. Why should my baby suffer so much? Recently she started asking: "Is my dad in heaven?" Ekaterina is deeply worried too.
- Did your family support you in any way? What about your relationship with you relatives?
Lela: Yes, they did of course. First, I returned to my parents’ home. But there were 13 of us in five rooms. Children, old people. My mom and dad are pensioners, my brother can barely keep his own children. So, over time, I separated, I moved with the children to a rented apartment. They can give me moral support, but they cannot support me financially.
- Did you earn your living when you left?
Lela: I did everything I could. I got a job as a cleaner, tidied up offices and the courtyard of the Ministry of Economy for 250 GEL. So that Mari had diapers. I also took on other part-time jobs. But now life has become very hard. My health failed, I had to quit work.
- What are the health problems that you have?
Lela: The operation is already over, I was operated on in August. One day I woke up in blood. I did not want to scare my children, so I put myself in order somehow and went to Gagua clinic. The bleeding was caused by gynecological problems - a polyp of the cervix, endometriosis. The state paid for the operation and medications. The tests results are okay, fortunately. I only have to take them to the doctor. I'll wait for the transport to start working.
- Does the state help in any other way?
Lela: We are socially disadvantaged. We get an allowance, and also 90 GEL as food coupons. During the coronavirus, they brought us food. So I can’t complain! I can feed my children on pasta, buckwheat, potatoes - and they will not be hungry. But they also want fried meat ... I never go shopping with Mari to avoid her requests that make me feel awkward - she likes sweets, and I cannot explain to her, that we can’t afford them. I can send Liziko to do the shopping, she will bring everything according to the list, nothing more. She can already understand things. My poor grown up girl! (Cries again.)
The City Hall pays the major part of our rent (300 GEL out of 400). If not that, we would be in the street. We will stay here for one year.
- Lela, how do you live in this almost empty apartment? There is nothing here, except a washing machine and a fridge, which belong to the landlord.
Lela: With the help of God. The main thing is that we are not in the street. Hopefully, everything will work out. It would be great to have beds. All four of us sleep on the floor, warming each other. I’ve caught cold, I am coughing. But do not be afraid, this is not a "corona". I'm afraid that my daughters can get sick, the cold coming from the floor freeze you to your bones. All the dishes are stored in bags on the floor. We eat, wash, and put them back into the bags. We have no table and chairs. We get tired of this, there is nowhere to sit normally. But, what can we do? A friend of mine lent us a tabletop gas stove with two burners. Now we can eat hot food too. We used to eat only dry food before that. People help me when they see my situation. Parents of schoolmates, those from kindergarten ... We have no problems with clothes. Why not take them if they are in good condition? I myself give away my children’s clothes, which they grow up from.
- We talk so much about your wonderful daughters. I think it's time to let them tell about themselves. Come here, baby. (Mari approaches.) Will you introduce me to your doll?
Mari (5 years old): This is Loli, she's sick now, ma’am. She has a cough, sore throat, and I'm treating her. She doesn't listen to me, she runs barefoot, and I will have to give her injections.
- So, you are a little doctor! Will you show me the other patients?
Mari: There are no others, I have only this toy. But I treat my mother and my sisters. When my mom feels sick, she calls me, and I put my hands on her forehead. And she says she is cured. I give her some water against coughing, but mommy still coughs.
- Sweetheart, what toys would you like to get?
Mari: A nice new doll. And roller skates. I can skate. Once they lent me skates and I did not fall.
- Do you know that you are a very beautiful girl? And your sisters are very beautiful. The bob haircut suits you very much.
Mari: I used to have long hair, ma’am. When they grow waist long again, I can sell them, and we will buy delicious things - a fried chicken, chocolate, sausages...
Lela: Oh, it was my decision ... (Sighs.) I had to do that. Once they temporarily suspended paying social allowance - they have their own procedures. They resumed it later. But we had to live somehow during that period. I am still very sorry about it.
- Ekaterina, what are you dreaming about, dear?
Ekaterina (9-year-old): About having our own home, so that I could hang my paintings in my room and look at them lying in my bed in the evening. We can hang nothing on the walls in this house. It’s not ours, we are visiting here. I want everything to be beautiful, but here there are damp walls with mold, no wallpaper. You can't invite friends to your place. Although, my friends are good, and they don't care what house I live in. I make New Year's decorations to cheer up my sisters and mom a little bit.
- So, you are an artist?
Ekaterina: I often paint and lots of people like it. I’d like to know how other artists paint, how they create their artworks. But I have never been to any exhibitions. You know, I should think carefully about the profession to choose so that I would not have too many problems in my life. In order not to live in such poverty. My feet are freezing until morning, I permanently wake up from the cold. I don’t want to.
I want to be happy and make my mom happy. She often cries because she can give us nothing. But I just need her to tell me that she loves me and to kiss me a thousand times a day. And that’s what she does. She is always by me and she supports me.
Lizi (11-year-old): I can tell my mommy everything too. Even when I am silent, she still knows what is wrong with me.
Lela: Lizi has started having problems with math recently. She often cries. I have no money for a tutor, and the schoolteacher focuses on the children whom he gives individual lessons.
- What is the book that you have, Lizi?
Lizi: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I've already read half of it. I really like it. When I am reading, I get distracted and forget about bad things. I would like to have a large library, and my own mobile phone to attend the on-line lessons by myself. Everyone in my class has one.
Mommy makes us go to the neighbors because of the Internet, but I feel awkward to bother them all the time. In order not to bother the same people, we go to different neighbors. Ekaterina and I share one laptop (the second one, the school gave us went out of order). And we take turns using it. It's good that my sister has classes in the morning, while I have them in the afternoon. I don't even know what we could do if the schedules coincided.
Everyone stays at home during the quarantine, while we are walking. It's very boring and sad staying at home, we don't even have a TV. But when it’s rainy or windy, we have to stay at home. To be honest, there is not much difference, at home it’s as cold as outside. You have to put on a lot of warm clothes in order not to freeze.
Mom teaches Mari to read and count. I read something; Ekaterina draws. But I'm in no mood. Tears flow themselves. When will we live well? Why do we live like this? Mom is afraid that I will get sick from the melancholy, she cheers me up when I lie in the bed and cry. I cried the whole last quarantine. You won't go to your neighbors’ place to watch TV on New Year Eve, will you? And we will probably have to.
Lela: How does it feel for a mother to hear and see this? (She sighs heavily.) What should I do?!
- Lizi, dear, you should always believe in a better future. You should know that you are not alone. Lela, our readers are a force that can move mountains. Let's list what your family needs so that people can help you.
Lela: I know, dear! I’ve been with you for a long time. I read and see how much good you have done and keep doing. You gave hope to many desperate people. I addressed the Chernovetskyi Fund because I believe in your ability to change lives.
We really need beds, maybe two double beds so we don't sleep on the bare floor, some basic furniture - table, chairs, cupboard. We also need a TV. I send my prayers to caring people. I believe that they will be heard! God bless you!
Friends, I don't really know how people can continue their work after reading the publication about Lela and her daughters? How can you calmly go to your warm bed when you imagine these three little girls and their mother sleeping on the cold floor? Little girls should not live like this, it is beyond justice and mercy. The foundations of their health are being laid now. And let's not forget that they are future mothers. Lela herself, at heart, is a desperate girl who bent under a load of problems. I ask you to look at their story with your heart, to understand them, to share their pain. And try to help. Do not hesitate to share problems of other people, it only means that you are a good, caring person. And that Lela's words and prayers and our calls are addressed to you.
You can call or visit them in person and help them. Their address is: Tbilisi, Gldani, 3rd microdistrict, Block 71, 2nd entrance, 2nd floor, apartment 33. Phone: 577 34 17 94.
We should not remain indifferent to the troubles of this family, we will show our mercy and care, all together we will help them however we can, showing them all our love and mercy! Unfortunately, no one is immune to loneliness and sickness.
Please repost our publication, so that as many people as possible learn about the troubles the Elbakidze family.
Friends, there is one more request - if you know about the misfortune of a neighbor or friend do a godly deed, drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Fund’s accounts are:
(purpose: Elbakidze family).
You can also transfer money from our website.
It is also possible to transfer money from ОРРА, TBCpay and ExpressPay terminals. Find our Fund under "Charity" section (You can read more about rights and responsibilities of the Fund following the link https://goo.gl/GY2Gus). ).
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