Bagebi and Amirani settlements are outskirts of Tbilisi, where live 30.000 Internally displaced persons(İDP) from Abkhazia. The housing blocks were originally student hostels. IDPs moved there 1993-1994. Bagebi is located on the western fringes of Tbilisi and is surrounded by building sites abandoned since Soviet times.
21 years passed since Sukhumi, the capital city of Abkhazia fell as a result of a war. The war continued 13 months and 13 days. According to the Georgian data, more than 10000 Georgian soldiers and civilians died in Abkhazia and 300000 people became internally displaced.
Bagebi and Amirani settlements are outskirts of Tbilisi, where live 30.000 Internally displaced persons(IDP) from Abkhazia. The housing blocks were originally student hostels. IDPs moved there 1993-1994. Bagebi is located on the western fringes of Tbilisi and is surrounded by building sites abandoned since Soviet times.
21 years passed after the war, but it is still difficult for refugees to remember or forget the stories happened during those days. Each of them has memories and it is sensitive to speak about that.
Manana lost her 3 houses in Sukhumi and lives in Tbilisi already 21 years, but still can not feel herself like at home.
Timur was 22 years old when war started. Her mother and sisters escaped from Sukhumi. He and his father stayed and fight till the end. Timur lost his father during the war.
Timur was internally displaced from Sukhumi and moved to Tbilisi. It is already 21 years he is living in the capital. He has a family and two children. He says: “What I am doing, I am doing for my family.”
Military actions in Abkhazia made ethnic Georgians leave their houses and walk to Tbilisi, which never had been motherland for them. They escaped from their houses, without taking their things. From Sukhumi to Zugdidi women with children walked by feet as they wanted to save their lives. For most of IDPs last destination became Tbilisi.
Svetlana still has a hope to go back to her home. She remembers her home with tears.
We came to Tbilisi, settled here. We did not have anything in Tbilisi. We laid down on the floor. We had one bed, my three children slept there and me and my husband were sitting whole night. Then we were thinking what to do. There were no shops here, and here, near the bridge was factory of bread. We started to take bread and sell. We put hot bread at bag and gave to children. Me and my husband brought it here and children were going floor by floor and were selling it. Whole week they were going with bread.... Before we started to sell bread, here one woman were selling bread. We did not have money and my husband went to earn money. I sent children to that woman. I told children ask a bread from her, father would return at night and we would give money back. She did not give bread. Children came and told me, that she did not give bread. They were crying whole day and stayed without bread. They went to sleep hungry. I was standing at balcony and was crying. I also wanted to eat. It was 1 a.m husband brought bread with sausages. We waked up children and told come and eat.Then we started to went to bread factory, we were taking bread from there, children were selling it floor by floor. Then they started to come at our house. We started from bread, then they asked to bring sugar, then they asked cigarettes. In this way we started small business. They gave us this flat. In the first floor was administration. They told us, that with children we were suffering, go and sell there. And started selling and already 21 years passed and now we are in this building. We started from one bread. When somebody is following you, when you know that somebody want to kill you, you must, even if you can not, run. It is fear, feeling, which gives you strength.
Abkhazians used to live very good. They told that each of families has several houses and appartements in Sukhumi. The war situation make them adapt to new and more severe conditions and start their life from the beginning.
Though, these children have never seen Sukhumi and Abkhazia, but parent's stories and memories created an unrecognized vision of their motherland. Nevertheless, they learn, study, play and explore their talents and skills in Tbilisi.