“We play and run. It helps us to forget that we are hungry,”- little Gvantsa and Saba say. At such a young age, these kids already know what real hunger means.
“And when we are really, really hungry, Mom gives us some bread. A piece for each. Sometimes our mom and dad do not eat at all so that we can eat,” - 5-year-old Gvantsa continues.
It seems as if you are listening to the story of a girl who survived the siege, when every crumb of bread was worth its weight in gold... It is terrifying that one can still find such a poor family in modern Georgia! But children should not grow up in such poverty! They shouldn't be hungry!
There are six children in the Bregvadze family: Monica (17 years old), Luca (10 years old), David (9 years old), Rebeca (6 years old), Gvantsa (5 years old) and Saba (3 years old). And also, dad Ramazi and mom Ketevani, grandmother Nato, and uncle Edward. In total, ten people live in this dilapidated house, which can only be called a hut! More precisely, they survive there...
- Ketevani, how do you live in such conditions?
Ketevani: It’s hard, we survive with the last of our powers. What can you talk about when there is no food, when you constantly think about how to save money so that you can buy bread? That's how we live! I'm not even talking about the state of the house - it is dangerous not only to live here, but just to be inside! It is cold and damp here even in summer. Rain, snow - everything falls on our heads. The planks are already rotten, the ceiling is almost completely destroyed, and wooden planks hang menacingly over the beds - right where the children sleep.
- Is it your house or you rent it?
Ketevani: It’s ours - my husband made it out of planks. We have only two rooms: the first is a kind of a hall and a kitchen together, and in the second we all sleep. The toilet is in the yard, and we don't have a bathroom - we heat the water and bathe in a basin right in the hall - in turns. Now we at least have water, albeit in the yard. And we used to go to the river to bring water - it is half a kilometer from home. We used to take bottles and some vessels and go to the river for water. But even now, when suddenly the water freezes or something happens, we have to go to the river again.
- How many people lives here?
Ketevani: There are ten of us - six kids and four adults (my husband and I, my mother-in-law, and my brother-in law). My husband’s brother is ill - he has spine problems and cannot work. He does not have his own family.
- What do you live on? What is your income?
Ketevani: We get a social allowance of 670 GEL. This is our whole income. It was cut - we used to receive 730 GEL before. And then suddenly they reduced payments, without any explanation. I was planning to complain. But I'm afraid they'll cut it even more...
- What is this money enough for?
Ketevani: Almost for nothing! That’s why I addressed your Fund. This money is not enough even to buy foodstuffs - there are ten people in our family. Everyone needs to eat. We have debts in all groceries around. Even today we will have dinner on credit - I asked the neighbors for food.
And the children need to eat too. We adults can endure, but children cannot! When they are hungry, they cry... It breaks my heart!
- Does your husband work?
Ketevani: He is a Jack of all trades. But it is so hard to find job here. So, he takes any part-time job. There is rather seasonal work: to cultivate the land for someone, to chop wood. That's how we live! He takes any job in order to earn some money for the family.
- Ketevani, could you please tell us how did you meet your husband?
Ketevani: We know each other almost since childhood. My mom is originally from here. So, in the summer, I often came here to visit my relatives. We, children, played together, had a happy summer holiday. And then we fell in love with each other. However, for a long time we did not admit our feelings. But finally, it happened! (She smiles embarrassedly.) We were very much in love and so happy! So, we started our family. I have never regretted that I married Ramazi. He is a wonderful husband and father! The best one!
- Does anybody help you? Your relatives or friends?
Ketevani: My mother, sisters and brothers live hard. And my dad has been dead for two years now. As for my husband's side - you already know - we all live together. Our neighbors help us a lot - I am so grateful to them! They gave us a TV, and also, a table and beds. Sometimes they help us with food and clothes for children. If not for them, I don’t know how we would have managed.
- Did you address the local authorities for help?
Ketevani: Oh, I've applied for help countless times! But what's the point? They promise me something all the time, but they never help ...
- What do your children usually eat?
Ketevani: I try to invent some new dishes with the foodstuffs I’ve got. But our financial situation is so bad that we eat the cheapest food. We even often take foodstuffs on credit since we have no funds.
- Ketevani, what help do you need first of all?
Ketevani: I beg you, please, help us with food. The rest does not matter, just don’t let us starve to death! My God! God forbid to see your child suffering from hunger... I don't even want to say it! It’s scary!
- Well, what do you need for your house? I see that you have almost no furniture and appliances.
Ketevani: We really need beds. The ones we have at home are already old, rusty and falling apart. My mother-in-law sleeps on the old sofa now. Me, my husband, and our children share three beds, and my brother-in-law sleeps on the floor. We don’t have bed linen...
There are ten of us in the family and there is no end to laundry. Washing all the stuff with hands is a real torment! I can't even feel my fingers anymore... It would be great to have a washing machine. And a fridge. We have one but it went out of order. I now use it as a cabinet, because there is no furniture at home where I could store kitchenware. We need a fridge too. In the summer I put food in a bowl with cold water, so that it does not spoil. But this is a real hassle!
- Do you believe in God?
Ketevani: Yes, of course! It is faith that helps me to live. I keep believing and praying that God will not leave our family. Sometimes it becomes quite difficult to enjoy life. But then I tell myself that the Almighty wants me to rejoice and live on for my children. It gives me strength.
- Ketevani, tell me about your children, please.
Ketevani: They are wonderful! So smart! All the children help me so much, they are dexterous and skillful! You know, you don't even need to ask: if there is something to do around the house, they immediately take it and do it. Three of them go to school. The rest are still little. But there is no kindergarten in our village, you have to go to another village for this, so my younger ones stay at home. My eldest daughter, Monika, is now visiting her grandmother in Tskhaltubo, so she is not at home. She draws well and dreams of becoming a stylist. We have her drawings hanging even on the walls of our house. She is very talented!
- Could I please talk to your children? Hey, guys, who is the most sociable?
Gvantsa: It’s me, probably. (laughs.) Ma’am, do you know I’m a princess? Now I live in a scary castle, but then the prince will save me and take me to a beautiful house. And there will be a lot of yummies and meat dishes. I really like khinkali and sausages. It is so delicious!
- When was the last time you ate such yummies?
Gvantsa: I don’t remember. We always eat soups and bread.
- Rebeca, you don’t go to school yet. What do you do all day?
Rebeka: I help my mom around the house. I do everything: wash, wash the dishes, tidy up, look after my little brother. Mom needs help, and I try to help her.
David: I always help too! I chop firewood, carry them into the house. If mom or dad needs help, I will always be there! I help my sisters too! I'm a man!
- What are you dreaming of?
David: I want a toy lorry. A big one! We have never had toys. And I really want to play with such toy! I saw it on TV.
Luka: Toys are for children. And I am already big and will soon become an adult. I will be a policeman, I will protect the innocent people and save the world from bad people. And I also have a girlfriend, I will marry her, and she will cook khachapuri for me when I come home.
Dear friends, these wonderful people are in dire straits. They really need our support! Let's all help them together!
The Bregvadze family address is: Chiatura municipality, Sakurtse village.
The family has six wonderful children from 3 to 17 years old. They need food, furniture, clothing, toys, and appliances! Let's not remain indifferent to the troubles of this family! Let's show our mercy and care, let’s help them!
Please repost our publication, so that as many people as possible learn about the troubles the Bregvadze family.
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