Having adopted a high mountain region and village of Georgia and settled here since 2007, I suppose one could say that I have some knowledge and opinions of this place. Buying a house and renovating it, and setting up a guest house and the main village shop, together with my Georgian wife, have all given me some insight.
Infrastructure is one of the things the development of which I try to follow, having arrived when it was in an advanced state of collapse and the population much depleted from emigration elsewhere in the country. Now there are encouraging signs of a numbers rebound, one handy indicator of this being the growing size of the grade 1 class at school each year for the past nine years. There are more people getting married, staying, or returning and rebuilding. This is encouraging.
However… must there always be a however? The water this year has been a worrying issue, especially as frost slinks ever closer and winter is getting ready to take over from autumn. Every year we have held on to liquid water for as long as we can in the new year, and every time, try as we may, it has frozen. We all keep an outside faucet running a bit to keep motion through the pipes; these are plastic, so if they do freeze, they won’t actually burst. But right inside the house, under the wall where these pipes enter our house is where they tend to freeze irreversibly until the spring thaw. This can be catastrophic, because all other places are accessible and thus amenable to work with hot salt water or even simple sunlight to thaw them and get the stuff running again. But that unreachable place needs a new solution, like a buried heater protected from moisture damage to stop it from freezing ever.
Part of the problem is that too many points on the village’s water lines are able to be accessed by people, who seem to need to turn the water up or down to ensure a good flow to their own hamlet and house. But more there means less here, and, with the characteristic “everyone for themselves” attitude where I live, things can turn nasty.
Our new local government representative had promised me that a commission would be coming by the 15th of this month to look at our water woes and solve them. This has not yet happened, and it’s time to start getting on his case about it, because the erratic water flows we have been having this summer cannot continue into the winter. If they do, and our water freezes as a result, I have threatened that we will simply leave… at least until spring. Now, there are the guest house and shop as active businesses to close, as well as my wife’s English teaching job to pull out of. And I would hate to go. But if normal life is made virtually impossible for us, surrounded by a meter or more of snow but unable to have running water into the house, what alternative do we have?
I am told that corruption is once again flourishing in the province where we live, as well as elsewhere. But I feel like pushing back, regardless of results, not being silent and walked over. Enough is enough. I don’t understand all the issues or complexities. But people, even or especially politicians, shouldn’t make promises they’re not prepared to keep. If they do so, they should expect us to protest; I also have friends in the Georgian TV industry. I sure hope it doesn’t come to that. In the meantime, #mishavs means “it matters to me”.