“When another pack of baby formula ends and Gabriel starts crying, I want to die! My heart just breaks...” - the poor woman covers her face with her hands.
- Sofio, please don’t cry! Tell us, how did you find yourself in such situation.
Sofio: I never thought that I would have no food to give to my children ... I can endure everything, if only my kids would not starve. Especially the youngest one - Gabriel, he’s still a baby! You know how it feels when he cries? You know that he cries because he’s hungry, but you have no formula. You just don’t have it, and you have no money to buy it! I start to thrash about, borrowing money from neighbors. My God, the baby formula is so expensive, and its price raises all the time. I know about crisis, pandemic, raising of prices for everything... But baby formula? How is it possible? What should do the mothers who can’t breastfeed their babies like me? Should they let them starve? What food should I give him? A bread soaked in water?
- How did it happened so that you found yourselves without a livelihood?
Sofio: I god married for huge love and despite the poverty I never regretted that! Imeda is my destiny, he is the kindest and most caring, and the best husband and father. I moved from Tbilisi to this village to be with him. It’s his ancestors’ house, it is about 100 years old and it has never been renovated since. His family always used to live poorly, they earned their daily bread through hard work... They never managed to allocate money for repairs. And now we have only left to hope that the roof will not collapse on our heads one day. My husband and I thought that we would earn some money and repair everything, but alas. Imeda got seriously ill with tuberculosis. Thanks God, he managed to defeat the illness, but he is still not allowed to work physically, and he cannot catch cold. Any incaution can lead to tragic consequence, I don’t want even to think about that! Here, in the village, he cannot find a job, but he still tries to help his neighbors during the season and bring at least some money home. We live from paycheck to paycheck and we pray every day that the children do not go hungry... (The young woman lowered her head and cried bitterly.)
- How did you meet the love of your life?
Sofio: I met him while visiting my friend... He froze up when he saw me! I laughed then but accepted his courtship with joy. Soon I realized that he was my destiny, and we got married literally one month later. So much time has passed, we have gone through so many difficulties together, but our relationship has not changed. Not a day goes by that he doesn't tell me: "I love you!" It is so important for every woman to feel that she is loved ...
- Sofio, probably this is exactly what does not let you lose heart. Does anybody help you? Have you got any relatives?
Sofio: We have no one to ask for help. My mother-in-law died of cancer 15 years ago, my father-in-law lives with his daughter, and she herself has a family and children. They do not live well either. My dad lives in the village, he is a pensioner. My mother left a long time ago abroad for work. She helps us in the way she can, but I also have brothers, and a sister who has a little child. Everyone is unsettled, everyone needs help ... How can my mother divide her small earnings between everyone so that she herself does not starve to death there? Well, and she is not so young, and because of the pandemic, it became difficult to find a job there. Probably, she will come back this spring, she cannot work anymore, and we should help her ... But how? When we ourselves can hardly make ends meet.
- We are so sorry! Did you address anybody for help? The local authorities, for instance?
Sofio: I did it for sure! I wonder for how long should I write applications and ask for help. Nobody pays attention to us. Apparently, we have to starve to death, or this dilapidated house should collapse upon our heads to make them understand that we really need help...
- How do you live here, in this dilapidated house with your babies?
Sofio: Where else can we go? At least we have roof over our head. It’s a little bit scary when it winds- it feels like the roof is about to collapse and the walls are shaking. Windows and doors are good for nothing, we had to wrap them with cellophane to somehow heat the room. Everything here is old and falls apart. In one of the rooms water flows down from the ceiling so much that it is impossible to stay there... There we store all sorts of junk. We sleep on iron beds, we have not even a wardrobe to store our things. Oh, I would have endured everything, if only my children did not starve ... When they grow up, I will probably find some job.
- What do you believe in, in what do you see the salvation?
Sofio: We are religious, we are Orthodox Christians. I used to go to church quite often, but now with a baby in my arms it became more difficult, especially in winter. But I constantly pray at home, I ask the Almighty to help me keep my kids ... I know the Lord will not leave us!
- Do you believe in the kindness of strangers?
Sofio: Our village is quite small, no one lives richly, but we support each other with what we can... Someone brings food to us, someone gives us clothes. I borrow foodstuffs in the store, and they let me pay debts on allowance paydays - it helps me a lot. I am grateful to everyone who shared a bread with my children, may God reward them for their kindness!
- Tell me about your children, please.
Sofio: Mariam is quite an adult - she is nine years old. She loves studying and she rejoices me with her good marks. If not for her, I probably would not have managed to cope with all the housework. She entertains the kids, plays with them, and this is already a huge help. I really want her to have a normal, happy childhood ... And I can't even buy notebooks and pencils for her. My heart hurts because I always refuse her everything. Mariam is already quite an adult - she understands everything and doesn’t even ask for anything... (Sofio wipes away her tears furtively). But you can’t explain to the little ones why we don’t have food at home. I never go shopping together with Gabriel - he always tries to reach sweets and toys. He can’t understand the words “we have no money” and he starts to cry.
- Can I talk to your daughter, please? Mariam, tell me about yourself. What is your favorite school subject?
Mariam (9-year-old): I love all subjects, but Georgian Language is my favorite. I love reading.
- What is your favorite novel?
Mariam: I like the fable about the wolf and the lamb. But it's sad. In the end, the wolf takes the poor lamb away...
- What else do you like?
Mariam: I like playing hide-and-seek with Saba, and I also like singing. My teacher praises me, she says I am good at singing. I sing at home too, to my brothers, to Gabriel when he cries.
- What a good girl! What are you dreaming about? Probably, about the dolls?
Mariam: No! I don’t like dolls - I am already adult! I want to have a tablet. My neighbor girl has one. There are so many interesting things there, you can watch cartoons, for instance...
- Do you know what your mom is dreaming about? Sofio, share your most cherished dreams with us, please.
Sofio: What can mom dream about? The only what I want - is for my children to never be in need, so that they have delicious food and a warm and cozy home. I want to put them on their feet, I want them to be well-educated so that they could find their way in life and be happy.
– What do you think, you need most in your home?
Sofio: Now our biggest problem is food for the baby, formula costs a lot of money, and one pack is enough for three days at most. Both Saba and Gabriel need diapers, which are very expensive too...
As for the rest - just look how we live - in dampness, cold, in the house which is falling apart... We don't have a refrigerator, I can't take plenty of foodstuffs in the store to cook dinner, because everything goes bad. We have no TV for children to watch cartoons. Children have nothing to entertain themselves with, on the cold winter days. But these are all dreams. Probably, someday, with help of God we will have everything... But now the main thing is that the children were full. I don’t ask the Lord for anything else!
The Tsutskiridze family is in dire straits. What could be more terrible than seeing your kids suffering from hunger? When your baby bitterly cries because he is hungry, and you have nothing to feed him. And there is no chance to get money to buy formula for him. Their father is sick - and he cannot work, their house built in past century is about to collapse. Three children are growing up in unbearable conditions and they are deprived of absolutely everything!
The Tsutskiridze family urgently needs baby formula and diapers. Besides that, they have no even basic living conditions at their home - no furniture, no wardrobe, no basic home appliances such as fridge and TV. This family is really in dire need and needs our support.
You can visit them and provide all possible help to the Tsutskiridze family. Their address is: Abasha Municipality, village Guleikari.
Please repost our publication. Let your friends know about the grief of this family! It’s extremely important!
God gives us chances to care about people who are unable to take care of themselves. Do not pass by someone else's trouble! 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!