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Poor Georgia

17.04.2013  |  17:54

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In the South Caucasus, there are lovely towns, lovely nature and very good people. But even here there is unimaginable poverty, when unsuccessful harvest condemns the people to hunger, and the salary does not allow even to buy shoes for children. Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, is a very contrasting city in this sense. On the one hand, there is magnificence of the new buildings, and next to them there are kids running around in tattered clothes. Our correspondent Natalia Sakhno wrapped in one such place to learn how the people manage to live on two dollars and a half per day.

"I buy two tea bags (we brew it a few times) - it is 10 tetri, 1.5 kg of potatoes for 60-70 tetri, 2 loaves of bread. I fry potatoes, and we drink tea. In the evening I buy 4 eggs for 27-30 tetri and cook croutons with the leftover bread. Actually, my friends and neighbors often help me. For example, I do not buy sunflower oil - my close friend provides it to us, and she gets it out of the humanitarian assistance handed out by the Catholic church. If I have 2-3 GEL for the day, I go to the bakery. I buy dough for 1 lari, then 1 kg of potato and onion. From all of this I cook fried patties, about 25 pieces. So that's what we eat."

Bella Strelkova tells us how to survive on about 60-70 rubles a day. Austerity regime in the familiy, which, except for two adults includes three small children, is everyday reality. The basis of the family's budget is $ 125 of social assistance they receive each month. They also can receive humanitarian rations in a canteen, but it does not always work - she has to take the older children from the school at the same time.

I met with the family of Bella Strelkova a long time ago. I saw their advertisement about the "personal charity predicting the future" in one of the capital's newspapers and decided to find out what is the essence of this unique technology. The meeting led to the publication of an amazing know-how - a computer program, created by Yegor Gunmen, a scientist and specialist in quantum physics, at home. We communicate regularly enough. Watching their life I could not do any encouraging findings: these people are inexorably sliding into the abyss of poverty. They have not complained against life, never lost heart. But the threat of imminent poverty and even hunger is constantly hovering in their home.

"My husband, a physicist by training and having a degree, does not work in the specialty for a long time. No one in Tbilisi needs experts of such level. For many years we had a small family business related to printing. In the good times (7-10 years ago) we even hired workers. Due to the nature of production it was a home-based work, and we were not forced to rent an office, a warehouse or a workshop," Bella says.

The family resides in the area Okros Ubani, in a typical Italian patio, which is located 10-minute walk from the city center.

"Our family is 12 years. Initially we could be called if not rich, but for sure well-provided people. We have three daughters. Their birth was our conscious decision. Prior to the birth of our youngest daughter 5 years ago - Ariadne, I was not afraid of tomorrow and had no doubt in the fact that I could provide my girls with all the best. But life has gone out of control, now we have to survive. You know, I have something to be proud of! The money we had earned in the "good times" was enough for five years!"

"Perhaps you have a question why we decided not to engage in another form of small business," Bella says. "I had a lot of ideas starting from a small grocery shop or a commission shop and ending a cafe or bakery. But Yegor did not want to take risks due to fear of the tax inspectorate, cash registers and other things."

Well, now Bella, like thousands of her compatriots, would gladly go to any job in Tbilisi, or even to leave for Turkey or Azerbaijan. But who will take care of the girls? Despite the fact that Ariadne is already 5 years old, Bella cannot let her go to a manger, thus she is forced to sit with the child at home. To date, both husband and wife are unemployed.

"We have tried to seek fortune abroad. We had two attempts to move to Baku, and both unsuccessful. My husband started there the same printing business. But we have failed. Second time we went back to Azerbaijan in 2011. We prepared much more serious. Yegor sold one-room apartment and took all the money hoping to invest it into a business. We have failed again. On the second day, after we settled in Baku, I bought cheese, flour, sour milk, acquired a small oven and baked khachapuri. I leased them for the realization to the shops in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, our national baking does not enjoy popular among Azerbaijanis. So we returned to Tbilisi just over a year ago, without money and without any prospects. While we were abroad, more nimble partners of my husband managed to completely monopolize his business. We were left outboard."

I asked Bella about her relation to the new government of the country. Does she believe that the government, led by Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili, can help ordinary people get out of the poverty? She does. "I believe that the new team of professionals headed by Ivanishvili will be able to rebuild the economy: agriculture and industry in Georgia, and thus provide us with jobs."

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