Five years at the horse roof

19 Feb
This house live Ms Terlan's family

This house live Ms Terlan’s family

The woman standing in front of a small house is 44 years old, but the cold and the sad look on her face seem to have aged her prematurely. With a sad look she waited for us, her hands crossed on her chest. Her facial expression showed that she was anxious about visitors coming into her home. But as we approached, she slowly and shyly whispered “welcome” and invited us in. Her home was a single room of about 15 square meters. A torn rug covered the soil floor. The ceiling was covered with polyethylene. Broken pieces of wall were lying in the middle of the room. Sunlight shined through the cracks in the door. In one corner of the room there were two beds. In the middle of the room was a dining table with only one chair. The family sleeps, cooks and bathes in the same room.

    Tarlan Ismailova’s family of four lives in the village of Sadakhlo, 100 kilometers from Tbilisi on the Armenian-Georgian border. Ismailova

She women lived in her family hours roof in 5 years.

She women lived in her family hours roof in 5 years.

says that 17 years ago, after getting married with the consent of her family, she moved in with her husband’s family in the house next to this one. She delivered her two children in that house, but the house was crowded and also began to crumble. Her father-in-law forced them to move into a stable where he had been keeping horses. “We lived in that stable for more than five years,” she said shyly. “We had too many hardships. There was nothing inside the room. When it rained or snowed, the room used to be full of water. Our feet were in water. At night we slept with a coat and sweater on so that we wouldn’t freeze to death.” With here eyes full of tears, she said that her siblings made no effort to help them, and that her husband is an alcoholic. “My husband is sick and jobless,” she said. “He does not help us in any way. Even worse, he disturbs us.” She said that to support her children, in summer she works in the yards of villagers turning up the soil for them and doing other work. She said she sometimes skips eating herself so she can give enough food to her children to keep them from being hungry. Neighbors sometimes give them food, and when there are weddings in the village, she is sometimes given the leftovers.

When asked how many children she has, Ismailova answers that she has three, two daughters and one son. She goes on to say that several years ago she lost her only son. He was 10 years old when he developed a lung disease. She needed a lot of money for his treatment and that she did not have that money. “My son passed away before my eyes,” she said. “ You do not know what it means or a mother to see the death of her own child. You do know what it means to have a boy for an Azerbaijani family.” After her son died, she become ill and needed surgery. With the help of villagers and Sabir Aliyev, the head of an NGO in Sadakhlo village, she survived. Without their help, she says she would have died. Donations from families who worship at the local mosque pay for a sack of flour that is given every month to her family. She says the government gives them 100 lari (about $US66) every month. She says that last month she spent 80 lari for a load of wood to burn for heat, and that it takes seven loads of wood to stay warm all winter.

 She said her youngest daughter studies in the third grade and has additional expenses. “For this reason, I took my eldest daughter out of school in the seventh grade so that she could help me earn money. But Ismailova said she hoped her older daughter could someday continue her education. The oldest daughter, 17-year-old Sevda, stood in the corner of the room dressed in a red jacket. Her black eyes, swarthy skin and sluggish look seemed to show she is reconciled with her destiny. Her mother says that several times people have come to ask for her daughter’s hand in marriage. “But every time I refused,” He mother said. “Because how can I accept fiancees in these conditions? You can see conditions in my house. I feel embarrassed. Where they will sit when they come? At least two people will come, but I do not have two chairs for them. Also, as part of tradition, I need to give her dowry. “But God always tests everyone. Maybe this is my very difficult trial. God is great and merciful people are many. Until now there have been people who helped me. I believe that with the will of God I will overcome this test.”
After these words, she bows her head with tearful eyes.

By Asim Jalilov

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