The word "mother" for four children - 3-year-old Luka, 5-year-old Gabriel, 13-year-old Vazha and 15-year-old Levan – is a taboo!
"We cope! Everything is fine with us.” - says 15-year-old Levan, hiding his eyes, meeting us at the entrance of an old, dilapidated house. Everything in the room is shabby: walls, floor, ceiling; there is old junk all around, like rusty beds that have survived from the last century.
The thing that catches your eye is that there is almost military orderliness reigning in these ruins... Military, not maternal!
Five men live on two GEL per day (350 GEL allowance for all of them), and there is no work for the father of the family in this mountain village. And even if it were, he would give his life for the children, but he would not leave his kids for a minute alone!
Everything I saw was terrible! The kids have not had sweets for more than one year, never had any toys, the elder children have no normal clothes for school, no phones, no computer, no Internet, no school itself, because they live in a mountain village where almost nobody lives.
The tragedy is that the children were abandoned by their mother when the bank took their apartment for debts.
And yet the interview with the father and the children turned out to be very proud and optimistic. But, if you read it not only with your eyes, but also with your heart, you will feel how much pain is there in every word.
- Alexander, please tell us everything in order.
Alexander: It’s a long story. I even don’t know what to start with. We used to live in a city. We used to be just ordinary family, I worked, I did my best to keep our children. But three years ago, it happened so that I was left completely alone with four children in my arms. My youngster was eight-month-old at that time. Of course, I became unable to work, I had nothing to pay for the rent with, so I moved here. There was no other way.
- Could you, please, tell me in more details? Did any misfortune happen to you?
Alexander: Nothing, thanks God. We all are safe and sound. To be honest, at first, when my ex-wife disappeared, we addressed the police to find her, but it turned out that she just no longer wants to live with us. I don’t blame her! Not every woman can endure so much grief!
Sorry, I’d like not to get into details. We avoid speaking about this at home. Boys feel uncomfortable, and I don’t want to stir up the past... It’s not good. Each person is free to choose his own way, and I do not blame anyone. How can I blame a woman who gave me four wonderful sons? I am proud of them! I live for them! Of course, I cannot replace their mother, but at least I must try to be the best father for them.
- How do you manage to cope with the work around the house, perhaps it is unusual? And boys constantly need attention...
Levan (15-year-old): We cope perfectly, Vazha and I are already adults, we can do everything. And we can look after the younger ones - it's not difficult, they obey us! (The eldest son joined the conversation.)
- Really? Are you a strict older brother?
Levan: No, not at all... Gabrielle and Luca are inseparable, constantly holding on to each other. And they always do what I tell them, they are smart! When Vazha and I go for a walk, we always take them with us.
- You said that you can do everything. May I ask how you distribute the work around the house?
Levan: Well... For instance, I can chop wood and cook food.
- What do you cook?
Levan: Fried potatoes, I also can boil or fry eggs. Or make some porridge.
- Well-done! Alexander, you said that you were left without job in the city, as there was no one to leave the children with. What means do you live on here in the village?
Alexander: “Means” is a strong word. We get 350 GEL social allowance. That’s our income. It is enough just for not to starve to death.
- Well ... If you divide it by thirty days, you get two GEL per day per person. What do your children eat?
Alexander: Beans, corn breads, potatoes, eggs - that’s all. What else can you buy with this money? They are great fellows, they don't complain, they never whine. It’s a pity for the kids, they don’t have toys, I buy sweets for them from time to time, and I really want to please them. In agriculture, you rarely manage to earn some extra penny.
- It is probably your parent’s house?
Alexander: No, unfortunately I sold my parents' house due to bank debts a few years ago. It just so happened, so we don't have our own home. And this shack belongs to my cousin, he generously invited us to live here. However, this house is very old, everything is literally falling apart, there are no amenities, but still, it is a roof over your head! We don’t have to pay rent. When the boys and I moved here, we cleaned everything (the house was closed for a long time), fixed everything that did not require money.
Finally, a person gets used to everything: to inconvenience, to hunger, to life routine, to loneliness...
- Does anybody help you?
Alexander: My parents died long ago, let them rest in peace. If they would have been alive, they would certainly babysit their grandchildren and I would have worked. But alas... I have a sister - she sometimes takes my youngest son Luka to her place. But she herself has two children, she works, she is like a squirrel on a treadmill. I am very grateful to her for this help, because Luka is completely deprived of maternal affection, he does not remember his mother. Doesn't know who that is...
Levan: Dad, please stop... Let me tell you how my brothers and I go to church every Sunday, how we play football, how we cook dinner together...
- Leavan, do you like living here?
Levan: I love village. But it’s a pity that there are no children of our age here. Only 30 families live here. There are two boys living nearby, but they are little bit younger than me and Vazha. It’s also bad that our only tap is in the yard, it is not comfortable; and the beds are too old.
Vazha (13-year-old): We don’t complain, don’t get us wrong! As Levan said, we love living here very much! Despite everything.
Levan: Me and Vazha are grown up, we manage to cope with everything. And we understand everything. When Gabriel and Luka grow up they will understand too.
- Does little Gabriel want to talk with me? Can I get acquainted with you?
(Five-year-old Gabriel just lowered his eyes and cuddled closer to his dad.)
Vazha: He is very shy.
- Then you can talk instead of him. What does he want most of all?
Vazha: Sweets and toys, of course. You can’t buy toys in the village. And we have very few of them at home. But you can find sweets in a grocery kiosk. He asks to buy it for him all the time.
- Vazha, do you and your brother go to school?
Vazha: When it is open, we do, of course. But we missed almost all lessons this year. We had online lessons, but we have neither computer, nor smartphone and Internet.
- Oh, Alexander! Did not you try to address the local authorities for help?
Alexander: You know, their respond was pretty straight forward: “You get an allowance, don’t you?” - that’s it. There is no point. They suppose that since you get an allowance, no one owes you anything, and no one is interested what it is enough for.
- Alexander, you and your sons (both older and younger) are such great fellows! We would love to make your life easier. What do you need the most right now?
Alexander: I would have never bothered you. It was my soft-hearted relative who wrote to you. If it were not for the youngsters, I would not have said that it is hard for us. It is a pity for the youngsters because I can’t pamper them in any way, and the elders either. I don't even know how they will move up to the next form. I cannot forgive myself that I cannot provide them even with everything they need, my hands are tied.
- We are sure that many of our readers will decide to support you. What do your children need the most at the moment?
Alexander: They need a computer. They have to learn! And they also need foodstuffs. The allowance is sorely lacking. This is what is urgently needed. Of course, I want to create just basic conditions for them, we have neither normal beds, nor a washing machine; our TV went out of order, the children are completely cut off from the world.
Levan: May I say too? We really need a bread machine! It’s quite expensive to buy bread, and we won’t be able to cope with the dough...
Vazha: And some sweets for Gabriel and Luka! You can’t imagine how happy they will be!
Friends, as you can see, Alexander Pruidze and his four sons live in dire need. They need food, home appliances, furniture! Let’s support them, show mercy, let’s give the children chance of developing and having happy childhood. You can visit the family in person and provide them some help. Children will be really happy!
Boys are deprived of the opportunity to study, they do not have normal food and they are deprived of even the most basic amenities. And the little ones - Gabriel (5 years old) and Luka (3 years old) - just dream of sweets and toys.
You can visit them and provide all possible help to the Pruidze family.Their address is: Tskaltubo Municipality, village Sachkheuri.
Please repost our publication. Let your friends know about the grief of this family! It’s extremely important!
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