Friends, when you see what a life these unfortunates have, you will certainly get horrified! They are lepers. Not for us - people who know that there is God, but for officials who are obliged to help them! Will we leave them in trouble and turn our backs on them as well? Just look at the photo.
Neurofibromatosis is a benign tumor that significantly changes a person's appearance
We never try to scare you; we never exaggerate problems. We always tell you the truth. The truth that we have seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears. Now it’s your turn. You have a right to know how people die in our country - in a country that aspires to be Europe, but where in reality people live worse than in Africa.
What associations do you have when you hear the word "lepers"? They are outcasts, they are shunned, avoided, people are afraid of them. Ketevan Burduli and her daughter Victoria are shunned just like lepers. A disease they have is not contagious, they got it genetically.
Hitler believed that people like these wonderful women should be killed so as not to "spoil" the nation! And what about us? What do we think, friends?
Maybe it is better to kick them out of Georgia? Not them, but those villainous officials who do not regard suffering people as people. Are they in any way better then Hitler?
Ketevan's skin is covered with warts. When we just started our conversation, it felt very creepy, it felt like she had a makeup! It looked like special effects for some horror movie. The "scenery” where these people live corresponds to the horror movie as well. The unstuck wallpaper, the ceiling, which is about to collapse on you, the furniture which fills you with dread. But that is not the worst thing. The scariest plot of this movie and the main character is hunger!
Sometimes they just collect breadcrumbs in their palm and feed the one-year-old Sergo like he is a little chick. And when the boy’s cry from hunger gets out through the "scenery" and reaches the neighbors, someone kind gets that they have nothing to eat in the Burduli family again and brings them food to at least calm down the baby.
Mold and dampness are in every corner of this house
Shabby walls, old crumbling furniture, dampness, and the smell of rot - these are the conditions the Burduli family lives in.
- Ketevan, could you please tell me more about your disease?
Ketevan: I have neurofibromatosis or von Recklinghausen's disease. This is a benign tumor. But it changes appearance of a person so that the person becomes unrecognizable. Sometimes its consequences can lead to disability or death. I am a second category disabled. When you have neurofibromatosis, your body becomes covered with growths. Over time, there are more and more of them. They first appeared after I gave birth to Vika. And since then, they have gradually covered my entire body. It is a genetic disease and cannot be cured.
- It means that many in your family were sick with it?
Ketevan: My parents and grandparents were not. At least, they had no visible manifestations of neurofibromatosis. Maybe one of my ancestors was sick with it, but I don't know that for sure
- How do you feel? Do you have pains?
Ketevan: The growths themselves do not make you suffer, but they cover your body more and more year after year, and lead to various disorders in your body. For instance, they damaged my eyesight. My one eye does not see at all, and the other is minus 16. Seven years ago, I was operated on my retinal repair three times, but my eyesight didn't get any better. I know there is no cure for neurofibromatosis, I can only take medications and keep living until it is possible. But I am worried about my daughter and my grandson. My daughter is ill as well...
Victoria: Mommy, calm down, everything will be okay. God is with us!
Ketevan: I'm not worried about myself. I want you and Sergo to be good. It hurts me to realize that I cannot help you in any way!
- Victoria, since neurofibromatosis is a genetic disease, do you also have it?
Victoria: Yes, but in a slightly different way. I have no growths on my body, there is only one on my chin... But the neurofibromin was inside my body. It covered my kidney and damaged it so badly that the doctors said: “Your kidney has to be removed”. They did not cut out the whole kidney but just its part. When I was giving birth to my son, I almost died together with my baby. It is very difficult to give birth when one of your kidneys is damaged. The doctors did not expect complications.
” Sometimes, we don’t even have a stale bread. We starve for days”
Ketevan: God saved us! It is still hard for me to recall the day when I almost lost my children! But I prayed, I prayed a lot asking God to give my daughter and my grandson a chance to survive. He heard me! Both of them survived.
Victoria: But I felt bad a couple of months ago, I had a severe pain in my lower abdomen. Doctors discovered that I had the ovarian cysts. They need to be treated - doctors prescribed me medications. But, you know, I have no means to purchase all the necessary medications. Now I suffer from pains, sometimes they are so severe, that it feels like something is about to burst of inside me... I haven't been to the doctor for a long time, I don't even know what is going on inside me now. I need another examination to determine if the cyst can be cured with drugs or if surgery is required, but we have no money. How can you think about your health when there is no piece of bread or tea at home to feed your child?
There is no bread or tea at home to feed the baby
- What is the income of your family?
Ketevan: We don’t get social allowance. We only have my disability pension (140 GEL) and child’s allowance (50 GEL) That’s the money we live on. Due to our health condition neither Vika nor I can work. I have no more idea how to live on!
- Did you address the state for help?
Ketevan: I did it many times! They refuse us without saying a word. We used to get social allowance, but a couple of years ago they disqualified us. We got huge bills for electricity. We’ve got an old electric stove, so we used it for heating in winter - there was no other way to not freeze. So, the authorities told us: as far as we consume that much of electricity it means that we have money to pay for it. That’s their point.
Victoria's neurofibromatosis manifested itself inside her body, but you can also see the growth on her face.
- Does anybody help you?
Ketevan: Our neighbors help us a lot, our relative also do what they can. You know, I used to be a single child in my family, I have no sisters, no brothers. My husband passed away four years ago. My only family are Vika and my grandson Sergo. We have far relatives, but they have their own families and their own troubles. They still help us whenever they can. And I am so grateful to my neighbors! If not for them we would have already starved to death. Can you imagine that sometimes we haven’t got even a stale bread? And Sergo cries because he is hungry. My daughter and I just endure, but the baby cannot endure - his tummy hurts. He cries, and I want to die! And it happens so that our neighbor brings us some food. In such moments I start crying of despair.
- Ketevan, what help do you need?
Ketevan: We need foodstuffs first of all! We are so short of food that we almost starve. Please help us with food! At least to feed Sergo. My daughter and I will endure. We also need medications, examinations, and consultation with doctors - both my daughter and me. I would be so grateful if you help us with that!
- Maybe you need anything else? Home appliances or furniture, for instance.
Ketevan: Our beds and sofa are so old - they almost fall apart because of dampness. The only home appliance we have is an electric stove, that’s it. We used to have a fringe, but it went out of order. When we get some foodstuffs I cook just small portions of food, because we have no space to store it. We have neither washing machine, nor TV set - we have nothing. We wash laundry in a cold water with hands. In winter my hands get so frozen that I can’t feel my fingers. It feels that we live in hell!
- Ketevan, have you ever thought you would face such problems?
Ketevan: No, I could not even imagine that! I was brought up in a quite prosperous family. I had a good childhood. When I got married, both my husband and I worked, we never lived in need. We brought up Vika wrapped in love in care. But then we started having health problems - first I and then my husband. He died four years ago due to bowel disease. I miss him very much!
- How did you meet him?
Ketevan: Friend of mine got married in Tbilisi and I often came to visit her. My future husband lived nearby. For five years we were just friends, we talked to each other a lot, it was so interesting to spend time with him. He was so smart, well-read, serious but cute at the same time! Once when he saw me off to the bus stop, he took my hand and said: “Will you marry me?” My heart started beating so fast and I answered: “Yes!” I miss him so much! We used to be not just a husband and wife, we used to be best friends. He was my best friend! I lost a wonderful friend and husband!
- Ketevan, what you dreamed to become when you were a child?
Ketevan: A librarian. I loved books! I took stacks of books and read one after another! But then I got married, my family became my first priority, and I no longer wanted to become a librarian. But I used to work in many places, I never sat around! I still love reading. But my vision prevents me from reading. Sometimes I ask Vika to read to me. But it is not the same as to read by yourself.
- Do you regret about anything in your life?
Ketevan: I regret that I am not a grandmother I wanted to be. Am I a worthy grandmother when my grandson cries because of hunger, when I raise him in such unbearable conditions? I am unable to give my grandson everything I would like to give him.
- A good, kind, God-loving person - is a person who... Can you continue this phrase?
Ketevan: This is the one who lives by conscience, who is ready to help those in need. He fears God because he knows that we are all in God's hands, that God sees all our deeds.
- Does anything happen in your life that you can call a miracle?
Ketevan: When Vika was giving birth to Sergo, she almost died because the problems with her kidneys. The baby also could have died. I remember how I knelt, rose my hands and started praying. I asked God, to take me, but leave my daughter and grandson to live. And the miracle happened! Doctors had no hope that both Vika and my grandson would survive. But suddenly everything changed, and they both survived. Is not that a miracle?
“I love reading. But one of my eyes is blind and vision of another one is minus 16”
- Which of the Commandments is the closest to you? Why? What do you think about this Commandment?
Ketevan: I can’t choose. These Commandments were given to us by God, so that we could keep them and be the men of God. That’s why I think that a really religious person should keep all the Commandments.
- What do you think, can one steal to feed a hungry child?
Ketevan: I think, he can’t. “Thou shalt not steal” - is one of the most important commandments. We often have no food at home and Sergo cries when he is hungry. But I can’t go and steal. When you live well off, when you have everything, when you are happy - then, of course, it is easy to keep the commandments. But it is not easy to keep them when you are in need. That is a point! God looks at us from heaven and He sees everything! There are days when we don't even have a crumb, but suddenly one of our neighbors comes and brings us bread, potatoes or some kind of a dish. All of them are messengers of God! And you are too, you came to help us! I’d like to express my gratitude to your Fund and all your friends for listening to me, for responding to my troubles and coming to visit us to help us.
“When Sergo is hungry he starts crying. But we have nothing to feed him. Sometimes our whole family starves.”
Friends, look in what unbearable conditions these people live! Ketevan and Victoria are ill, but they have no money to visit doctor, to be examined, to buy medications. Little Sergo often starves because there is not even a stale bread at home. Should children living in Georgia starve?
Let us not remain indifferent to the troubles of the Burduli family. Let us help them!
Dear friends, you can visit them in person and provide them with all possible help. Their address is: Dusheti, 45 Rustaveli Str.
Please repost this story. Let your friends know about the grief of the Burduli family! It’s extremely important!
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: email@example.com.
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(purpose: The Burduli family).
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We have already helped many disadvantaged people! Let’s support this family too! And who knows, maybe someday we ourselves will need help of strangers!
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