68-year-old Rose Marsawa had a heart failure due to constant heartache and miserable existence. This March she had an ischemic stroke that made the elderly woman bedridden. She is unable to move, she cannot even sit down, because her right leg and arm are completely paralyzed.
She is cared for by her husband, 73-year-old Tamaz Pazhava, whose health has also greatly deteriorated lately. Imagine how incredibly hard it is for an elderly man to look after a sick woman alone in conditions that cannot be called otherwise than a mockery over human dignity!
Tamaz Pazhava and Rosa Marshawa have been living in exile for 26 years. They are refugees from Abkhazia who had to leave their native land in 1993. The state provided them with a completely uninhabitable room with no water, gas, toilets or sewer system, as they have been out of order for many years already.
And no matter how many of these people appealed to the authorities, the reaction was always the same – empty promises.
We talked to this family and asked to share their problems and concerns with us.
– Rosa, tell me please, what is the state of your health at the moment?
Rosa Marshawa: I am bedridden. The right arm and leg are completely paralyzed. This is the result of a stroke. At night I often wake up from pain in the heart; my bones ache; blood pressure is constantly high; I was also tormented by a terrible headache...
– Do you have the necessary medicines?
Rosa Marshawa: At this stage I need them quite a lot. Almost all of them are very expensive. My pension is not enough and, therefore, there is no money for hygiene products, not to mention massage treatments.
What's your income?
Rosa Marshawa: We receive a pension and a social allowance in the amount of 120 lari. In addition to the medicines, we spend money on electricity bills. Given that we don't have gas, the food has to be cooked on an electric stove, and that's expensive...
Do the local authorities help you?
Rosa Marshawa: My stay at the clinic was paid by the state, but the rehabilitation course has to be paid from my meager pension.
– And where's your son?
Rosa Marshawa: At the beginning of the year, when the life of a young man became absolutely unbearable, he left to work in Ukraine. Previously, he worked at seasonal nut plantations and worked for food, so to speak. But already for the fourth year, marble bug invasion destroys the plantations, so there is no work. However, in Ukraine, too, thins are far from perfect either. So far he cannot get a stable job there. When I told him about my stroke, he said: "Mom, I will come and take care of you." How could I do that? I'd rather die, but he'll get on with his life! How long can we live in poverty and without an elementary hope?!
– Tamaz, tell me, in which year did you become refugees?
Tamaz Pazhava: In 1993 we were forced to leave our native village Tagiloni. It's 15 kilometers from here. We couldn't bring anything, not even a family photo album. We left the house in a hurry, as the enemy gangs entered the village. When we crossed the Inguri river we moved into this premises of the former paper mill, where we live till this day.
– The conditions here are appalling indeed.
Tamaz Pazhava: I'd rather say catastrophic. The room is completely uninhabitable. Inside there is no water, no toilet, and the building is not gasified. A particularly disastrous situation has developed with the sewage system, which for many years has been clogged and does not function. We cannot open the windows because of the smell of sewage, and the unsanitary conditions caused by this promote the reproduction of insects and reptiles.
– Did you apply for help to the authorities, for instance to the Mayor or the Deputy of your majoritary constituency, as care for the voters is their direct responsibility?
Tamaz Pazhava: I have done that for a million times, but to no avail. Recently, during the election campaign, we were visited by a candidate for the mayor’s position of Zugdidi municipality and promised to help. As a result, he was elected, and there is hope that finally the authorities will keep their word and help in solving our social issues. But I have a request to you – please, address on our behalf to our majoritary Deputy so that he favors the resolution of our problems.
– Tell me please, what were you before you were expelled from your native land?
Tamaz Pazhava: I was a foreman at a local collective farm, and my wife was a secretary of executive committee of the village council. We got married for great love; we lived in harmony and prosperity, raised a son...
– Were you engaged in charity before the war in Abkhazia?
Tamaz Pazhava: You know, I am a deeply religious person and I believe that each of us is obliged to help those in need. Therefore, I often provided every possible assistance, but did not like to talk about it out loud. I always tried to feed children from poor families, find a job for them at the construction site, often I even gave them my salary award...
– And what are you dreaming of now?
Tamaz Pazhava: First of all, I dream of returning to my native land. This is my biggest dream. Well, in the second place, I dream of having a roof over my head in my old age and living a decent life with my beloved wife!
Friends, we cannot wait until the newly elected Mayor or Deputy deign to help these old people. We have to take urgent steps. After the stroke, Rosa Marshawa needs hygiene supplies and medicines, as well as food and basic household appliances. If you leave these old people to their fate, they are unlikely to survive till the next winter. Imagine that these are your grandparents for whom it is very hard to survive. Won't you help them?
Take the pain of these poor old people close to heart, visit them at their place, and you will be horrified by the poverty you see. This is their address: Zugdidi, "Vector" settlement of the former paper mill, 26 Mekaalde St., tel:599557460.
If you are busy and cannot visit them, you have the opportunity to transfer funds for assistance to the account of our Fund: GE15TB7194336080100003 or GE64BG0000000470458000 (purpose: Rosa Marshawa). You can also transfer money from our website.
We report for each spent tetri in detail in the next post about this family!
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