As I talked to an Abkhazian woman working at my hotel in Tbsili, she explained to me that she has already experienced 3 wars in her lifetime. She is only 24. Before a few months ago, I hadn’t heard of Abkhazia either, don’t worry. It’s because the US government doesn’t recognize Abhkazia as a country – that’s all I’ll say about that. When I asked this woman if she wanted to go back to Abkhazia, she said yes, very much. But she can’t because her family no longer has land or a home there. The border is complicated as well. I only talked to her for about 20 minutes, but I learned a little more about freedom and the lack thereof throughout the world.
When I travelled to the village, I met with a brillant youth group who is changing their school and community in beautiful ways! They helped a classmate with a disability get a wheelchair. They cleaned up their community, then convinced the local government to send a vehicle for regular trash pick-ups that are required by law. They teach each other about the serious risks of trafficking- to help keep one another safe. And they want to help protect more children by making their peers aware of their local child protection system and advocating for improvements to that system. You know what I loved about these youth … when they talked about child rights, they talked about their responsibilities and when I asked them who their role models were, many of them said their parents. They are grounded, thoughtful, and passionate … I think they just might change the world in a really good way. It’s part of my job to build them up and pave the way for them to be successful.
When I came back to the capital city of Tbilisi after visiting the village for a couple days, I was greeted by a bouquet of tulips in my room for Women’s Day. So generous and sweet. Those flowers made me happy until the day I left for Armenia.
That’s all for now…looking forward to getting home to my wonderful husband !