Let me introduce Gia Beridze (52-year-old) to you. He looks like a healthy young man, but looks can be deceiving. His rib cage is cut in the middle and without pills his heart would not work. A day without pills can kill him. The person who fought for us, who saved hundreds or maybe thousands of people without knowing about that, does not deserve such an ignominious end. Does he?
He fought, starved, slept on the bare ground, stood facing bullets, so that we and our children had a peaceful sky over our heads. He managed to come back alive and he seemed to be healthy. But in reality his heart failed and refused to go on beating.
Heaps of bodies, sniper bullets whistling, a gun muzzle against his forehead... God forbid us to see or experience all that. But Gia Beridze saw it with his eyes. Not only saw it, he was involved in that and managed to survive in this hell. And now, in peaceful time, he is under the risk of dying, just in front of our eyes, friends.
- Gia, what is your main problem at the moment?
Gia: The problem is that that I can die any time. You know, day after day I used to stare death in the eye. I was accustomed to it, but at that time my life depended only on God’s will. And now I completely depend on medications, and to be honest, it’s more scary then a sniper’s shot. The shot still gives you a chance to survive, you don’t expect it every second. And here... Every time when another jar of pills is about to finish and I realize that I have no money to buy more, I get seized with horror, the fear of death. My sick heart fails: my nervous condition causes arrhythmia and I am taken to hospital.
- Sniper’s shot? Have you been to war?
Gia: I just started working at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, when military combat broke out in Abkhazia and I was sent there. I saw enough terrible things there ... It was not a war when an army goes against another army. It was a brigandage, a carnage, a mess... And it was not clear who was fighting. There were many groups and mercenaries, all of them dressed in almost the same uniform: it was impossible to distinguish who were the enemies, and who were not. Rivers of blood and mountains of corpses of innocent people. I spent one year and a half there, and I think if I tell you all about it, our conversation will continue too long.
- Gia, tell me, please, a little bit.
Gia: Our guys used to shelter in tiny villages, we starved, we had no water. We used lemon or orange juice to wash up. One old lady used to bring me milk because I saved her husband. They were attacked by security forces, and I made them off with automatic gunfire. But still one day they were killed. When I rushed there hearing screams, it was too late. They were both shot in their own beds, their mouths were open, and their teeth were pulled out ... You see, they were shot because of their gold teeth!
Once a little boy came running to me and told me that he had seen people who were putting "some kind of round things" on Sukhumi airfield runway. I knew that an airplane with three hundred of 18-year-old new recruits was about to arrive, and I rushed there. It seems that the villains were in a hurry because the mines were not covered with ground, and there were only six mines there. I did not know the exact arrival time and started digging them out. It was scary, it was the first time when I was doing that. The plane landed exactly 20 minutes after I had dug the last mine out and could breathe a sigh of relief...Thank God that the boy was smart enough to let us know, to tell me about that. Those mines could have taken the lives of 300 young boys who were brought to war directly from their schools.
- You put your own life under a mortal risk!
Gia: I avoided imminent death many times and I am grateful to God for that. Many times a sniper's bullet whizzed right over my ear. Once it even touched me. But it was not scary.
I was in captivity for two days, and it was not just captivity. Do you know what the Russian roulette is? When they place a single round in a revolver, spin the cylinder, and place the muzzle against the forehead: it will either shoot or not. So during those two days the muzzle was placed against my forehead maybe 50 times. The revolver did not shoot! Not once!
- God loves you, Gia. Are you religious? What do you believe in?
Gia: I am on orthodox Christian. Although it was forbidden in the USSR to go to church, I was baptized and my parents instilled Christian traditions in me. My father was even arrested twice for going to church. I know that only faith saved my life there, in the Abkhazian mountains and valleys.
- How did it happened that you found yourself at war?
Gia: In 1991 I started working at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. I am a sportsman, a professional boxer, Master of Sports, I was a member of the USSR national team. Together with my team I visited all Republics of the Soviet Union. When I studied at school I had no time off. I studied Georgian folk dances and box, I was torn between trainings. You probably know that Georgian dances require serious physical strength. After graduating from school I started to work at the publishing house, where my mother worked. My father was a transport engineer, an intellectual and a well- educated person. My parents did their best to raise a decent person of me. My father died long ago, and recently, a year and a half ago, I lost my mother - it was a severe blow for me. At the age of 18 I was called up to serve in the army, in a sports division, and then ... The head of KGB called me. They were looking for sportsmen to work for the Militsiya. I did not want to, but there was no way to refuse. So I became a case officer. Then the war began. It started with the unrest at Samachablo, and then in Abkhazia. It is painful to recall how many innocent people died before my eyes...
-Gia, what happened after the war?
Gia: I used to work at many places - at a security company, at a construction site, at the security service of Patarkatsishvili - until his death, at a market place, as a bus ticket inspector, but I gave up working there soon because of the injustice, when they fined old people and 16-year-old teenagers. The last straw was when they fined a priest in front of my eyes! In 2011, I had a heart attack. I felt a severe pain. Thanks to my neighbors! They immediately called the ambulance carrying me to the ambulance car on a stretcher. I remember the ambulance racing and doctors talking to each other: “We can’t get him ...” I am so grateful to them: they managed to take me to the hospital in three minutes! The heart failed and they put a stent. It is natural, that excessive loads were contradicted to me after that. But I kept working in security service at night and as a kids’ trainer in the daytime. I had to keep my family somehow.
- Are you married?
Gia: Now I live completely alone, there is no one to pass me a cup of water. My first wife Eka died of cancer. They diagnosed a late stage of the disease, so the doctors were unable to help and she died within a month. She left very young - she was only 45. We have an adult daughter Mariam, who is 27 and a grandson Demetre, who is 2. But it so happened that we do not often contact, unfortunately. My daughter is unemployed, she is divorced, and now she lives at her friend’s place looking for a job. We got divorced with my second wife four years ago, she could not tolerate the difficulties and the lack of money, so she left me. Our son Giorgi is 14 years old now. He is a wonderful boy! He studies folk dances and boxing, like me at his age. Unfortunately, he lives far from me. He visits me only once a month, and buys and brings me food, and sometimes he stays overnight.
- Please tell me the story of you love.
Gia: With Eka, my first, now deceased wife, we met only a couple of times before we got married. I used to work at the security service at that time, and she worked in a bank. We were called there - that's how we met. Believe me, I am good in romance! Her working place was filled up with roses of her height. Her mother was very strict and she did not let her out except work - only home and work. She immediately said “yes”, when I asked her to marry me. But as they say, when the need knocks at the door, the love jumps out from the window. I am sorry, I don’t want to go into detail...
- Does anybody help you? The relatives, for instance?
Gia: I have no close relatives, only distant ones, but we hardly communicate. You know, everybody has its own troubles. Life is hard for everyone today.
Have you ever thought that such misfortune would happen to you?
Gia: Look at me, I am a sportsman, a military man. I look young and strong. Nobody would suspect looking at me that that my rib cage was sawn in half and sewn up with wire. The heart is a very strange thing. You think that you are all right and healthy, that you have overcome everything and that all troubles, horrors, adversity are left behind. But in one second if fails to work, since it cannot cope with all the troubles it had to experience earlier.
- Gia, at the moment your heart works due to an artificial pacemaker. When were you operated and what are the results?
Gia: Last year I felt very bad, I was out of breath and I went to the doctor. They did not let me out from the hospital. They said I can die any second. They made many examinations, they put an artificial valve, plastic aorta, three shunts but did not manage to start the heart, so they had to put an artificial pacemaker. It was the first operation of such scale in the South Caucasus. Fortunately, it was successful and I am grateful to the doctors. Imagine, it was completely financed by the state.
- And what about the medications and treatment which are critical for you now? Does the state finance it?
Gia: I am a socially disadvantaged war veteran. Many things have been financed by the local government and town hall. I have reached the limit of the available resources That’s what they tell me: “The limit has been exceeded” The limit of my life? I will die without those medications. I don’t want to look ungrateful - the state made a lot for me- for instance, they gave me this apartment.
- Really? Tell me how did you get it, in what circumstances?
Gia: We used to live in a former school building. Many socially disadvantaged families used to shelter there. And the house of Salome Zurabishvili who was about to become a President was nearby. So we were resettled for the security reason. I was given this flat 23 sq.m. large at the outskirts of the city, but I am grateful for that, now a have the accomodation of my own. I do not complain, but I have just one problem - I have no hot water. The water heater went out of order, and it’s so difficult for me to heat the water in the buckets and to take them to the bathroom.
- What do you live on, what is your income?
Gia: My pension is 120 GEL plus I get 22 GEL as a veteran plus social allowance. It’s 200 GEL total.
- What is that enough for?
Gia: In winter it is not enough even to pay for the utility costs... For potatoes and processed food. For nothing else. And the medications cost 400-500 GEL per month.
- What particular help do you need at the moment?
Gia: Medications. Medications and examination. It’s not for health and not for treatment. It’s just to survive! I can live without food, but I need medications as much as the air! I don’t want to die...
If you could help me with hot water, it would be just wonderful. The water heater is out of order, and I cannot carry the water buckets heated on the stove.
– Do you believe in the kindness of strangers?
Gia: Of course I do! That’s why I decided to contact you. Your Fund is a great example of that. Thanks to you, complete strangers learn about each other and get a chance to help those in need. You know, I am completely alone. My son is far away, I have nobody even to talk to...
– What is your biggest dream?
Gia: I dream of seeing my son grown up, of babysitting his children. I don’t want anything else. He is still a child. I don’t want to leave before getting sure he has got on his feet and found his way in life. I dream about nothing else.
Friends, here is a man who put his life under a risk, who battled for our Homeland, for our peaceful and calm life. He was ready to die for our sake. And now he appeals for helps, appeals to give him a chance to live a little bit more in this world, to put his son on his feet
Gia Beridze is a real hero, he indeed deserves our empathy and help - he did not hesitate while exposing himself to bullets. Now we all owe to join and save his life.
Gia critically needs medications, it’s vital for him. Without them he will die immediately! But he is eager to put his son on his feet and to babysit his grandchildren! He deserves it for sure!
Call him, cheer him up and give him a hope for tomorrow. Phone: 599 91 48 08.
Or visit him at the following address: Tbilisi, Africa settlement, 12 B.Chichinadze street, apartment 51.
Please repost our publication. Let your friends know about the grief of Gia Beridze! It’s extremely important!
God gives us chances to care about people who are unable to take care of themselves. Those poor people are sent to us by heaven so that we could prove not by words, but in deeds that we trust in God!
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: Gia Beridze)
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We have already helped many disadvantaged people! Let’s support and David, as no one is immune to bad luck! And who knows, maybe someday we ourselves will need help of strangers!
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