26 year old anonymous respondent from Gali

“Women of Georgia” will, from time to time, offer stories from occupied territories. For these women, it’s vital to have a trusted platform, where they can speak up and tell their stories. Our first respondent is a woman from Abkhazia, who chose to stay anonymous for the sake of her and her family’s safety. We recorded the interview remotely through one of the communication platforms. The Photo is symbolic, the depicted person is not the real respondent but an artistic face. The author of the photo is Geda Darchia.

The people of Gali remain in a very critical condition. They are waiting for food and primary supplies. At the end of the story, an account number will be printed to which anyone can transfer money that will be used to send the food to the children and the elderly that live across the Enguri.

26 years old

I’m one of the IDP women from Abkhazia. I currently live in the district of Gali. I’m ethnically Georgian, but we are getting such aggression from the Georgian side, that you can’t even imagine how it feels. I feel so uncertain – I don’t belong either here, nor there; I feel homeless and abandoned.

The law has no power here, not to mention justice. We can’t get fair treatment and as always, we are the most vulnerable people in the whole Georgia. At least, before quarantine, they were sending us food from the other side, but now, I don’t even know how long the stockpiled food will last for my baby, who has been born in exile.

The borders were closed shortly after the virus has been announced. You can only cross the border if there’s an official order in your name that says you have symptoms typical for the coronavirus. Nobody needs infected people here and moreover, nobody can take care of them.

While we barely got the local side to agree to let food, basic necessities, and medical supplies through, the Georgian border guards didn’t allow our relatives to bring it over. Children are our main concern. The rest will do their best to avoid hunger. People have nothing left: poor farms and measly government welfare – 45 GEL monthly. Additionally, during the quarantine, everything is in deficit and even if it weren’t, we wouldn’t be able to afford it. There is almost nothing we can buy, even with money. There is also the elderly who ran out of essential medicine. We’re in a hopeless situation and we’re waiting for international organizations to help us with humanitarian products.

Not everyone knows the real situation here. The so-called occupiers are still trying to force us to leave our homes. They are denying us ways to live. We just exist here, nothing more.

Our compatriots are taunting us, from the other side of those cursed barbed wires, that Russia should take care of us.

In fact, our families, our parents didn’t leave this place. They couldn’t leave the houses and they used the very small chance to remain in their own homes, even under threat of gunfire. They’re trying to survive every day and we, their children, are supporting them. Georgians living in Abkhazia are symbolic and I’m very sad, that they call us traitors because of that.

I remember, when I was a student, we routinely crossed the border silently to Zugdidi. We were constantly finding all possible ways to study. Once, I had to cross the border without being noticed. I had to cross two rivers. Along with having to swim, I didn’t even know how deep the water was. I remember motivating myself after each step in the water, that it wouldn’t be deep and I would be able to go to the end. I did that! My pregnant sister was walking with me, showing the way, and she got stuck in barbed wire. She barely survived. After I did that, I ran with all my strength. I had mixed feelings – I was running from Georgia to Georgia. We, like the rest of Georgia, feel that Abkhazia is part of Georgia. The only difference is that not only do we live here, but we’re also the most vulnerable Georgians.