Kristine Mikhailova, 31 years old, a small group home, Tbilisi Tamuna Margvelashvili, 19 years old, a small group home, Tbilisi

(Tamuna and Kristine live in a small group home created by the organization Hand in Hand. They were interviewed during their working hours at the social enterprise Babale.)

“Tamuna: No, I am Tamuna. Kristo, they are here already…
Kristine: That’s me, Kristine. You will interview me, won’t you?
Tamuna: Excuse me, are you from television? Will we be on TV?
Kristine: You are interested in me? I live in the Mukhiani settlement, in a good house…
Tamuna: Can I give you a kiss?… and won’t you interview me?
Kristine: I used to live in Senaki…
Tamuna: It was Martkopi, not Senaki, Martkopi.
Kristine: Yes, in Martkopi too. But I prefer it here, I don’t like living there. The nurses treated me badly, they yelled at me and beat me … No, I didn’t do anything wrong, but they beat me. Also, there were many people living in Senaki, it wasn’t good. Here there’s four of us: Me, Inga, Tamuna…
Tamuna: and Nati, Natia.
Kristine: Yes, Natia as well. Here they treat us well…
Tamuna: Will you let me wear your glasses for a while?
Kristine: I work here at Babale, I paint things, I do everything and I have my salary. What are my dreams? I don’t have parents, I don’t have my mom. Can you find her for me…?


Tamuna: Here are your glasses. Thanks a lot.
Kristine: Yes I do know my mother, but she doesn’t visit me. Do I do anything at home? Yes, of course! I do the sweeping, tidying, washing, and even cooking….
Tamuna: Should I paint this toy too?
Kristine: What do I cook? I cook potatoes, even the soup with Matsoni… No, I can’t bake….
Tamuna: You will interview me too, won’t you? We live together in the Mukhiani settlement. Before that I lived with my mother, father, and grandfather in Tbilisi. It’s Tbilisi here and there as well… Then I moved to Martkopi. I liked it in Martkopi and here too. I made a lot of friends here. I will visit Martkopi this summer, but I just want to go there as a guest without staying for a long time… How old am I? I don’t know… nineteen? Yes, I’m nineteen. I know my surname, I’m Margvelashvili. The president is my uncle… Mommy does not visit me, because she is busy, always working. I also work at Babale. An assistant brings me here. I know the road, but they don’t let me go alone… My mom will come here and I want to show her my drawings. My dream is to have a car, I would drive a lot in a countryside. Yes, we go out now too. We were in Borjomi. We drank the Borjomi spring water there, we walked in the park… In Kazbegi? No. I haven’t been to Kazbegi… That was Kazbegi when we were at the exhibition? Oh, yes…
Kristine: We used to go on vacation from Senaki too…


Tamuna: Kristo, maybe you dreamt about it? We did not go on vacation from Martkopi, but we used to go to church….
Kristine: I used to go to church and sing Our Father’s prayer… We also have exhibitions and sell our work there. That’s how we earn our salary, right?! I want to buy a tablet.
Tamuna: I want a laptop and a car… I want to buy a car like that, but black. Is this your car?
Kristine: We watch TV too …
Tamuna: Kristo, that show is over. I used to watch “Prisioneraaaa”… Why isn’t that on TV anymore, I liked it…
Kristine: There was a wedding there…
Tamuna: How would you know, I was the one watching it… I’m sorry, but they were kissing on the lips…
Kristine: excuse me, but they were even having sex…
Tamuna: No, I don’t want a boyfriend, let them all die out one day.
Kristine: I don’t want one either….
Tamuna: Kristo, don’t you want to have kids?
Kristine: No, no…
Tamuna: I don’t want to be a mother either…
Kristine: Please, find my mother, I beg you, I don’t have a mother…
Tamuna: Kristo, you know, I don’t have one either, don’t you see, I don’t…
Kristine: Most of all I want to find my mother. I was from Kutaisi…
Tamuna: Kristo, what’s your mother’s name?
Kristine: I don’t know.
Tamuna: If you don’t know, they can’t find her.
Kristine: Can I see what you recorded? Oh, afterwards? Sorry… Should I color something else?
Tamuna: OK, thanks a lot. Will you visit us again?
Kristine: Please, come visit us again, please…”

Author: Ida Bakhturidze
Photo: Salome Tsopurashvili
Translation: Khatuna Gvelesiani

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