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Archilo revitalized - The furthermost village of Khevsureti

Friday, 26 November 2021 19:58 hits 367 times
Amiran Zviadauri
Lonely
Amiran Zviadauri

Badri Zviadauri, 32, was the last person permanently living in Archilo, Khevsureti. His body was never found. After four months of searching, only his belt, a scrap of a shirt, and a piece of the skull were retrieved from river Andakistskali. In 2010, Badri visited Shatili to buy products. On his way back, his horse slipped on the narrow path and fell into the river. It was the day Archilo died and became a deserted village.

Beyond Shatili, Anatori, Mutsostchala and Mutso, where rivers Khonistskali and Andakistskali meet, the road splits in two. The left leads to Khonistchala, Khone, and the right leads to Ardoti.

After 20 minutes ride with an off-road vehicle deserted houses of Ardoti can be seen. Only one house stands intact. Niko Ardoteli lives there. Distantly there are newly-build hoses and even a guesthouse.

Car road ends at Ardoti. Last year 30 000 Lari was gathered to build a four-kilometer road to Andaki. Dusheti municipality sent a tractor that worked for two days only. River overflow and damaged the road, a landslide occurred, and now the road is dangerous to cross by walk.

The river crosses the old pathway from Ardoti to Andaki on five points. The locals attached branches to government-sent low-grade iron materials to build a bridge, but the river will tear it away sooner than later. So we cross the bridge one by one. Even now, with no snow on mountains and water levels decreased, the river roars like it is preparing to devour passengers. As a result, many prefer to cross the river directly. Being in waist-high water feels safer than the bridge.

There is only one resident in Andaki. Soso Zviadauri is the person who helps you forget about difficulties. His family, castle-house, and hospitality make you cross the distance even without a bridge.

Even bridges like that are long wished on the road from Andaki to Archilo. After the death of Badri Zviadauri, nobody lived in Archilo. Since 2012, Amiran, brother of Badri, resides in Andaki from spring to winter with his family. He is a ranger in Pshav-Khevsureti Protected Area. He lives in his relatives’ house, as none of the buildings in Archilo are livable.

Since 2012, Amiran has heard many times that government plans to build a road to Arhcilo. In 2019, Irakli Karseladze, then-director of Roads Department of Georgia, now a minister of regional development and infrastructure of Georgia, promised in an interview with „Mtis Ambebi“ that the road will be built by the end of 2020.

„This road will be safe in wind or rain; therefore, current problems will be fixed. I am talking about German standards, the road 5.5m wide, so two cars can move without obstacles.

The promise was never translated into work. When Amiran and Mamuka Zviadauri decided to rebuild their ancestors’ household, they carried materials with horses and their shoulders. Mamuka has roofed the house, Amiran plans to do the same the following year.

„If you visit me next spring, I will be your host. I am planning to build according to our traditions. It’s hard to be far from people. You know yourself how many issues the roadless places have. There is no internet or mobile coverage. Road and communications should be fixed.

I am asking the government for neither money nor public assistance. We will do what we have to do. Just let them build the road. The whole distance from Andaki is a wide valley; it should not be hard. Also, there is no electricity in villages above Mutso. Solar panels were distributed unevenly. I have been here for nine months and did not receive it.

The people who live here in summer need assistance to stay in winter too. But, of course, I am not looking for anyone to bring me building materials or money; I have returned to work and live here. But still, attention is a nice word...“

Many people don’t even know there is a Georgia beyond Shatili. Russian occupiers have a base near Anatori. So-called „Pines,“ two kilometers from Shatili, was occupied by a Russian border guard.

The government and opposition forget these villages even during the elections. Four families, eleven people, live permanently in Mutso; three families, three people in Ardoti; one man in Andaki, four families, eight people in Khone.

Ilo Kardava

Reporter-Translator at mtisambebi.ge, holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Tbilisi State University. He works on political and social issues, essential events from Greater and Lesser Caucasus regions. E-mail: iloqardava@gmail.com

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