“Governments Change but Poverty Stays” Reportage of Humanrights.ge from the Backside Pshavi
Giorgi Ioramashvili, Mtskheta-Mtianeti
Residents of Backside Pshavi feel abandoned from the government. They rarely get interested in political debates and are indifferent about upcoming elections. They believe nothing will change for better regardless who gains majority seats in the new parliament of Georgia.
A local resident complained with us: “Governments change but poverty stays.”
Backside Pshavi within Dusheti district is located about 100 kilometers away in the north of Tbilisi in the ravine of Aragvi River. Once, it was very densely populated community. Locals said about 200 families lived only in Gogolauri village but now most villages are completely abandoned. Several people stayed in some villages and mostly they are elderly people – Khevisberi-archpriests of local chapels.
Shuapkho village is the center of the Backside Pshavi and bus runs only three times a week from Tbilisi to the village. It is the only transport which helps locals to sell dairy products and honey in the capital and to buy products for hard winter.
People living in the middle of the gorge take products to their homes on horseback from Shuapkho village (Vakesopeli village is located15 kilometers away from Shuapkho). No cell phone communication is available in the gorge. Electricity supply system is installed only until Muku village. People from the villages located upper than Muku use sun-energy batteries to get electricity.
You cannot detect any expectation of the upcoming parliamentary elections in the gorge population.
“I cannot understand why these politicians fight each other. Why do they fight for their positions and have become enemies of each other?! Is not it better if everybody loves and assists each other?!” retired teacher Lado Tselauri, 77, from Vakesopeli village wonders.
Mr. Lado is afraid that flooded Aragvi River might create huge problems for locals again. “We clean roads with support of the Village Assistance Program. This year, Aragvi River was too generous to us and did not so much flood to flow over the bed and damage the road but nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. We just request the local authority to repair the road. If somebody gets ill we have to either carry him on back or on horseback to medical center. There is no transport here. A sick person cannot walk such a long distance. We cannot even dream about travelling in winter.”
Lado Tselauri thinks progress in the country should first of all reflect on the mountainous villages and locals should feel it. Unfortunately, he cannot feel it today. “If there is a progress in the country, we should also feel it here; if it happens our country will survive.”
Humanrights.ge asked locals whether they intend to take part in the elections and Mirian Tselauri, 30, said young people are more likely to go to the elections but it will be huge problem to take old people to precincts. As we have mentioned above, Vakesopeli is 15 kilometers away from the central village Shuapkho and it will be too difficult to take old people to the elections in the fall.