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Khevsureti Is Getting Uninhabited

21.09.2010

Gela Mtivlishvili, Khevsureti

One more family abandoned Reversed Khevsureti region (the mountainous region in Eastern Georgia) and took the Shatili-Tbilisi mini-bus the day before yesterday. Niko Ardoteli took two children of the Shetekauris from the village of Khonischala with his three children to the downland. Our host in Shatili told us: “If Niko’s family also abandons Ardoti village that means the village will get uninhabited.” Khevsureti region is getting uninhabited. Two families remained in Mutso village; nobody lives in Archilo; nobody will remain in Khakhabo village this winter either.

“Will you go to Ardoti too? I am sorry I will not be able to host you there but my son in Levani will be there. Go there by all means and make a toast to my family angel,” Niko Ardoteli told us when he met us on our way to Ardoti.

“I taught every subject to my children till the fifth form. My wife and I were thinking for a long time to send our children to Shatili School or to leave the mountainous region. The school is too far away; the roads are blocked from November till April and cars cannot move; nevertheless we decided to stay here and send children to Shatili School. When you send children away from Khevsureti, they will never return back and the region will get uninhabited. However, there are not teachers of English language, Biology, Physics and Chemistry at school. German people reconstructed the school and the conditions are nice; however, if children are not able to study anything, we will not need such a school. We petitioned to the ministry of education several times and requested their assistance in order to keep people in the valley but nobody paid attention to us. The school year has started and we have to leave the valley. I will take my family to the lowland and I will come back to spend winter in the village. If they send teachers to Shatili School, I will bring my family back,” said Niko. Then we went to Niko’s place in Ardoti and he went forward to Tbilisi.

Ardoti is the village on the Reversed Khevsureti region; it is located about twenty kilometers away from Shatili very close to Chechnya-Georgian border. Only Niko Ardoteli’s family lived in the village permanently, the other three families visited the village only in summer.

There is a village Mutso and Khonistskali before Ardoti village; after Ardoti there is Archilo, Andaki and Khakhabo. At the end of October, the Datijvari Pass leading to Reversed Khevsureti is blocked and the inhabitants get isolated; they can get in touch with other people only by the helicopter of the border guards which flies to Tbilisi only once a month. No mobile operators are available in Reversed Khevsureti.

The people request minimal living conditions from the government; however, the government does not respond to their problems at all.

Shota Chincharauli, director of the Shatili boarding school: “Although we have vacancies of teachers, nobody has desire to work here – neither Georgian person nor foreigner who were invited from abroad. Neither the ministry of education sent anybody here. We visited Tbilisi several times; I informed the Dusheti district resource center about our problem but nobody has been sent yet.”

We got in touch with the ministry of education to get their comments on the issue. The ministry is implementing a special program “Teach for Georgia” which aims to send teachers to the detached regions. We wanted to find out why the program was not implemented in Khevsureti region. The spokesperson of the ministry Nino Protjhebskaia requested us to send questions in written form; we have sent them the letter and if they reply we will publish another article about the position of the ministry.
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