Tamriko Tsiklauri, 54, Khada Gorge, Tskere

„I had an apartment in the city, which we mortgaged during the crisis years, but we failed to repay the loan and lost it. So my husband and I moved to this village, where we stay through the whole year. People, tourists like here and come to visit this place. But I wish they could see this area through our eyes, at least in winter. Some people dream about snow but we pray to have snowless winter. Only my husband, I and my neighbor aunt Anichka stay here in winters. Do you know how we live?! Like people used to live in the Stone Age in caves. When roads are blocked in winter, we eat whatever we have. If we do not have anything we have to do without it. I wish I did not feel bad in winter. How will the ambulance get here when the roads are blocked? Some time ago, our neighbor fell ill and had to call an ambulance. The doctors, who hardly got there, were curious why we were staying in the village. Who will take care of us if something like that happens in winter? That woman would have died unless the ambulance had come. Who will help me if something happens to me in winter? During the election campaign I told the campaigners who had visited us here, to give me one carriage. I will place it in Kvesheti to spend winters there. They promised but I do not know, we will see.

When people go down in the fall they leave their cattle to me. I put a box of matches in one pocket and newspaper in the other when I take them to pasture. I think I will burn the newspaper to scare away the wolf. Sometimes I think that if I really see a wolf, I will not be able burn the newspaper because I will have a heart attack. Or I will set fire to myself because of fear and confusion.

I do not have reached the pension age yet to live on pension. We have free gas supply in winters, which is some relief. Sometimes I do not have any money for weeks. I take homemade cheese down and exchange it for pasta, oil, or household products to make winter food supplies.

After losing the apartment my husband started drinking to drown his sorrows. When he gets drunk he starts abusing me, he starts scolding me, as if I am the cause of his misfortune. When I was young I could run and he could not catch up with me because he was drunk. Now I cannot run, so I decided recently to call 112 (emergency service). I told them that my husband drank and scolded me. They called the patrol police. The police came soon, made him write an explanatory note and issued a warrant. They told me to call them and they would immediately take him away if he became violent again. I am rather happy because now he seats in front of TV silently, not saying anything. I have sighed in relief. I have also realized that I am happy when the petrol police comes because I have an opportunity to talk to them. This place is so deserted that one may go crazy. So aunt Anichka and I entertain each other”.

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