Poverty… This word has grown together with the Khubashvili family… In this family, despite all the tremendous efforts of the adults, the four little girls are starving… At such a young age, they are already familiar with what hunger and poverty are… And three of them feel their sister's pain as their own…
In the shack, which its residents call a home, two more "children" huddle: 23-year-old mentally retarded Gocha and grandfather Merabi with a severe form of sclerosis.
It is a family of 9: four of them are young children. They live in a remote village in the outskirts of Tbilisi. Buses don't course there. To get to their shack, you need to walk up about two kilometers. It was extremely difficult to find their "home", and a young mother, Anna, came out to meet me.
On the way she told me about her family and verbally acquainted me with each of them: Anna (26), her husband was seriously contused in the war in Abkhazia, Vladimir (30), mother-in-law Marina (52), father-in-law Merab (56), brother-in-law Gocha (23) and four daughters: Nino (10), Mariam (8), Anastasia (6) and Salome (5). They are all crammed into a small two-room building. Passing by, no one could think that people live here…
When Anna and I went inside, the house was crowded. The three beauties who ran out in surprise into the courtyard hid in the bedroom. Gotcha and grandma Marina met us at the door. The woman's eyes radiated so much warmth that it was impossible to look away from her. There was a special energy in the air when she spoke. And contrary to my plans, I held the conversation with her, Anna sat next to me, and Gocha stood silently near us.
– Marina, what is the main problem of your family?
Marina: We have two disabled people in our family: my granddaughter Mariam (8 years old) and my son Gocha. The son needs special nutrition; meat and dairy products are just vital. With our meager income, this is difficult to do. But do you know what the hardest part is? It is to buy meat for Gocha and see how children look at his plate with hungry eyes, because they themselves have to eat only pasta and buckwheat.
Mariam has ICP, so diapers are always needed, and you know how expensive they are. We try our best, but sometimes she has to wear the same diaper for longer than she should. It is awkward to ask, but there is not enough space in the house. If you could help to add something, at least in one room, we would appreciate.
– You said that there are two disabled people in the house, tell us more about their diseases. Are they curable? What is required, maybe some medications?
Marina: Well, as I said, Mariam has cerebral palsy and epilepsy since birth. She was born five months old. She's been in an incubator for four months and that's why she's special. As for Gocha, he was severely poisoned as a child and due to incorrect treatment by doctors, he became the person he is now. Medication is not needed, only it would be nice to buy a walker for Mariam.
Concerning the recovery... No, it is incurable in both cases, but Gocha needs to consume protein, because he does not have it in his body, and it is vitally dangerous not to eat products that contain it. I remember once there was no money at all for special food for Gocha, and he god so swollen... My son was on the verge of life and death... I didn't know where to go at the time; I was constantly running to different part-time jobs to buy milk for him at least.
Mariam's condition can be improved, recently she has been operated; the state helped with the payment, and now the leg muscles have opened up a little.
– What has happened to you? How did you find yourself in such a situation?
Marina: It happens. Life turned out to be so. I was not always so poor, my husband and I used to live in the city center, on Rustaveli Street. He had an excellent position, and worked in the Ministry. But a new government has come, and there was a revolution in the country... He was removed from office. The house on Rustaveli Street was not taken away from us, but after a few years we had to sell it, because there was not enough money for Gocha's treatment, and then we were left homeless.
My husband could not find a good job; he started having mental problems, even before Gocha's problems. You know, he is a soft and creative person; in 1992 he was sent to the front. To Abkhazia... After he arrived, I didn't recognize my husband. Honestly, I didn't turn off the light in my room for months because he couldn't sleep, he had nightmares, and he shrugged at every sound. Then he got to Tskhinvali as well. He had a concussion, Merabi was not made for war... But that's not everything yet. He was walking home one night and fell into a deep hole; he had a severe cerebral commotion, and then went into a coma. He lay at the hospital for a long time, not coming out of the coma; over time, he began to stink as a corpse; cadaverous spots appeared on him, as if he was dead. The doctors offered to disconnect Merabi from the system, but I begged not to do it, I believed... And he survived. Now he is almost fine, but he has often lapses in memory; he forgets basic things, and nothing can be assigned to him…
– Is medicine powerless in the case of Merabi? Can medication help him?
– We did everything to help him return to a normal life: we collected all our crumbs and conducted an examination; he was prescribed a course of treatment, but we barely completed it. But the maximum has been achieved in the treatment of Merabi, there is nothing else to help him…
– There are nine of you in the family! How do you fit in such a tiny house?
Marina: My girl, we don't fit. We sleep on top of each other, there is very little space. But it is a sin to complain, compared to what was before, this is a palace. We recently settled here, and before we had to huddle in a tiny wooden shed, through the cracks of which water flowed. Every night, the children fell asleep in fear that while they were sleeping, the shed would collapse onto them…
In general, we received this land as a gift from the "Iavnana" Charity Fund, but there was only this piece of wood, I can't call it anything else. We worked hard to build a brick building. Yes, it is not a "wow" and also looks like a barn, but the girls now sleep well at night.
– Marina, Anna! – Both of you have a sick child, what advice do you want to give mothers in the same situation as yours?
Anna: You should never complain about it or cry, you should accept it and learn to live with it. If it happened, it must have happened, it's a gift from the Lord.
Marina: I agree with Anna, but also add that you cannot give up! You know, Mariam is like this because she's a miscarriage. When this happened, Anna was taken to the hospital and the doctor told us from the very beginning not to try to do anything. He told us to get rid of the child as of an unnecessary thing, but I didn't listen to him. When Mariam had been in an incubator for four months and her diagnosis was clear, the doctor told me: "Leave her here and don't torment yourself! We will send her to the right place!" – Then I replied: – "No, if she dies, let her die at home!" I do not regret that we took Mariam, she is also loved by us, as well as the other girls. And the girls also love her; they constantly run after her, take care of her and play!
– You are very strong, Marina! Tell me, is there anybody helping you? Maybe your relatives?
Marina: Anna has no one; she grew up in an orphanage. And I also have a daughter, so she helps sometimes, brings meat and food when possible. If it was not for her, I would not... We would lose Gocha.
– Have you addressed the authorities for help?
Marina: Yes, we receive social allowance and disability benefits for Gocha and Mariam. The total income of the family is 640 lari. Also, my son Vladimir is trying to earn a penny somewhere, he is an electrician, but normally it is not possible to work unofficially. And if he gets an official job, he will definitely not have a good salary. But we will be deprived of social allowance! And without that, we'll be lost. So I have to work like this, and I also try to do something. Mostly I work as a cleaner. But Gocha... He can get sick at any moment, so I want to be always there.
– Marina and Anna, let's now talk a little about the positive things. Tell us how did you meet your husbands?
Anna laughed shyly and began a short story, all lit up with happiness:
– We met when I was still in an orphanage; his family had already sold their house and was looking for a home. Marina's friend worked in an orphanage and sheltered them. That's where we met and fell in love... I knew what their situation was, but what difference does it make when you love? And I don't regret a bit! We have wonderful children, and all our big family is my great happiness!
It was Marina's turn, and the tiny woman's blue eyes twinkled with the light of youth; she grinned and said proudly:
– Me? What about me? I was 15, he was 20. I was visiting relatives in Russia at the time, and he was there. A month later, I ran away with him. I loved him and I still do. And if there had been an opportunity to run away earlier, I would have done it; he was just waiting for his salary (laughs). Then we got a great tan at the sea in Sukhumi and went to Tbilisi. At home, of course, there was a whole chaos. My mother was screaming, and my father didn't want to talk to me. But love... Isn't that crazy?
– Well, of course you're a rebel, Marina! Could I talk to the kids now?
We went to a room where three angels were playing, and one angel was lying motionless on the bed – it was Mariam. But as soon as we entered, Mariam clung to her grandmother, began to kiss her, hug her, and scream happily. A miraculous child!
But in the meantime, let's speak to the oldest girl, the incredible beauty Nino.
– Nino, tell me, what do you like to do with the girls?
Nino (10 years old): We like to watch cartoons, but different ones. I'm not interested in what Anastasia and Salome watch, they are too small. They still play with toys, and I'm too old for this. I also like to cook and always help my mother and grandmother. We also like to draw.
– Do you have albums, paints, and pencils for this?
Nino (10 years old): There are several pencils, so we use them. We don't have albums, they cost a lot. We draw in old, unnecessary notebooks.
– Do you have a favorite fairy tale?
Nino (10 years old): Certainly! It is Little Red Riding Hood.
Anastasia (6 years old): And I also love Little Red Riding Hood!
– Anastasia, what is your favorite food?
Anastasia (6 years old): Hmm... probably rice or pasta. I don't know anything else.
– Do you like sweet things?
Anastasia (6 years old): Yes, especially chocolate. I rarely eat it, but I still love it. We all love chocolate.
– Salome, what about you? What is your favorite toy?
Salome (5 years old): That bee over there, because we look alike and she's just as kind as I am.
– Yes, you are a real angel! What do you want to become when you are grown up?
Salome (5 years old): I dream of becoming a doctor to make my sister healthy.
– Do you guys love Mariam, girls?
The beauties chorused "Yes!", then little Salome added: "Only sometimes she hugs us too much."
I couldn't talk to Mariam herself. Because of her illness, she doesn't speak. But the girls surround her with real love, especially the older Nino, because Mariam, for two years, was her only sister. The girls spend a lot of time together and have a special bond. Mariam tried to walk, but the pain made her cry, so Nino ran to her sister and shouted as loudly as she could, louder than British football fans: "Come on, Marie, come on, you can do it, I believe!"
Marina: While there are no walkers, we try to do something ourselves so that Mariam could train. We hope that soon she will start walking a little...
– Marina, now we have to go back to the past for a while. Imagine that you have one chance to fix everything. Would you use it?
She looked me straight in the eye, covered me with her warm gaze, and softly, quietly said "no", then continued:
We all dream of a big house, of wealth, and I did so, dear, and I did... But now I understand how insignificant my dreams were, the real dream is here, next to me. These are Mariam's steps, what she is trying so hard to do, and these are is my kindest Gocha, my whole family. This is happiness. I thank God for all this. I'm the kind of person who can adapt to anything. I'm the kind of person who doesn't complain, but thanks. It is not a hard fate, it is a gift from God to have such a large, friendly family.
– You are a woman worthy of admiration. So fragile, but so strong! – Do you believe that strangers can be good to you?
Marina: I believe, of course I do! Before, when I still lived carelessly in the center of the city, I always helped the poor. I remember once a neighbor's child was starving. I cooked food for them, but I never wanted to show people that I knew about their predicament. I went to the boy's mother and said that Lado did not want to eat alone, and asked her to send her son to me so that they could eat together. And after a while, when we found ourselves in here, we were starving. And then a neighbor came to me and said: "Marina, I have prepared too much borsch here, there is nowhere to put it, you and your kids should eat it." But I know that she didn't cook too much borsch... Life is interesting, isn't it?
The good always returns to you, there are good people, I know...
– What are you dreaming about?
Marina: I dream that people appreciate life and never despair, this is my dream. I remembered how I was told about Gocha, that his maximum was 15 years. But I believed that he would live and I would do everything for it. I worked a lot so that I could buy him the food he needed. And he is already 23, and I hope this figure will grow further and further. He's a wonderful boy, believe me.
– Why did you decide to apply to our Fund?
Marina: Because you really help! You are very kind-hearted people! Thank you for this, thank you even for coming to us and getting into our story.
We hugged all the family members. I was about to leave when Mariam whined and reached for me. The girl hugged me and kissed me good-bye...
This should have been the end of this story, but let me pay attention to the most silent hero of the tragedy – Gocha. A quiet guy who hadn't spoken a word during my entire stay in the house took it upon himself to see me off. We got to talking on the road. He proved that Marina was telling the truth, Gocha was "a wonderful boy". As we walked, not a single car passed without honking its horn in greeting, and children ran up to him, asking how he was doing. People in the area like him.
Gocha told me that he wants to become a programmer, and recently confessed his love to a girl.
– You confessed? Just like that? You weren't afraid?
Gocha: What is there to be afraid of? I had feelings, and I told her about them. She didn't say anything in response. But the main thing is that I confessed to her.
So this shy boy turned out to be a real man. But beyond his courage, there is something else... His biggest dream is to create his own charitable fund. Gocha has repeatedly helped neighbors and people in need. Together with his best friend, he plans to fulfill this dream in the future.
– What does it do for you? What are your feelings about that?
Gocha: At this moment, I feel like a real person. This is the best thing in the world, otherwise, why do we live if we do not help those who need it?
Friends, these are wonderful people who do not lose hope. Call them, visit them, and you will see for yourself.
The family needs food, especially meat, which is vital for Gocha. Also they need hygiene products, diapers and walkers for Mariam. They have to crowd into a two-room house, let's help them expand their home a little. After all, the children need their own space.
All the furniture in the house is old, but the family does not complain. However, the washing machine is barely performing its functions, let's replace it with a newer one and make life easier for the people? The girls love to draw, but there is not enough money to buy drawing supplies. We have the opportunity to help the beautiful girls to develop their talent.
Friends, God gives us a chance to show his kindness and mercy, let's use it!
Let's pray for this large and friendly family, and ask the Lord together so that their life would change for the better!
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 Anna, 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, Gldani Village, Avchala 2 Region, 21 Gorgasali Street. Phone: 568-671-909
Dear friends, Chernovetskyi Fund initiates a charitable action: to help the Khubashvili 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: email@example.com
Here is the account of our Fund:
(purpose: Khubashvili 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).
Just 1 call can save someone's life 0901 200 270
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!