In Abkhazia, almost the entire crop of hazelnut is harvested; the main task is now to sell it more profitably or preserve it. For many people, the cultivation and sale of nuts is a major source of income. Chai Khana’s reporter in Abkhazia found out how this hazelnut season turned out to be for the farmers and entrepreneurs.
Double Taxed Hazelnuts
The bill on a total ban of abortion, adopted by the National Assembly of Abkhazia in the third reading, caused a heated discussion in the community. The new law was sharply criticized by the majority of healthcare workers. According to doctors, a controversial approach to the abortion issue may entail great health and social problems. Women express solidarity with the doctors.
Banning Abortion in Abkhazia
In Traditional Abkhazian belief, ritual sacrifice is involved. Most often, a white goat, sheep or a bull is sacrificed. The meaning of this rite is to thank God for saving souls. More often, they ask from God for the success of this or that person and pray for the salvation of his/her life, health or well-being. Many Abkhazian families perform this ritual of sacrifice every year; it is commanded by their ancestors. This duty they pass from generation to generation.
Sacrifice: the Abkhazian way
Rusudan Kobyakova is a famous fashion designer in Abkhazia. Her collection shows have become focal events for the cultural and social life of Abkhazia. Meanwhile, with her furnishing design studio, Rusudan lives a simple life with her two children. She dreams that her children won’t have to live through such hardships as her family had to. It is not an accident that Rusudan turned to modeling clothes; her desire initially stemmed from the bare necessity of the 90s, which forced the young girl to learn how to sew and design clothes in order to be able to have something to wear. Today, she dresses others with the most luxurious outfits.
Rusudan Kobyakova-A Designer Born in The 90s
31-year old Nasta Agrba opened an amusement center in a former cafe on the beach of Sukhum. Though she says it’s not a highly profitable business, she is able to earn her living, and she has the opportunity to make things pleasant for the people during the summer.
A New Breath On The Wild Beach
Denis Samanba has managed to make his electronics and sport shop the most famous one in Abkhazia. This year, he has also opened a sports cafe, the only vegetarian cafe' in Sukhumi. You cannot expect high profits in a country of wine and barbeques, but Denis, a keen cyclist and vegetarian himself, hopes that a healthy food and lifestyle will one day become popular in Abkhazia as well.
Cycling Vegetarians in Abkhazia
History can be silent - conflicts affect hundreds of thousands of citizens, yet their stories remain often untold, their voices unheard. Dialogue of History is a long-term project aimed at giving people affected by the war a chance to tell their experience and share their feelings. Founded by the German Bergof Foundation and implemented by NGOs in Georgia and Abkhazia the project recorded hundreds of interviews with people who experienced the Abkhazia-Georgia conflict of 1992-1993. In a series of workshops in Georgia and Abkhazia other persons listened to those interviews and shared their opinion about recordings or told their own memories of war.
The Silent History
Trolleybuses are the quintessential transport in Sukhum, featuring all walks of life on their seats. With tickets at RUB5 [$0,08], they are also the cheapest means of transportation, the only one that people on low incomes like pensioners can afford. Challenges are multiple - bad roads, frequent power cuts, etc. - and the costs outnumber the revenue. Yet, budget transport is vital to the city. The route of trolleybus number 3 is the most popular and crowded - these are its people.
Taxi drivers are a common sight in the South Caucasus - shiny European cars flutter alongside aged vehicles of Soviet memory. At the steering wheel, men, and rarely, women provide a ride and more often than not, a chat that matters. Chai Khana explores the life on the road of three taxi drivers in Tbilisi, Yerevan, and Sukhum. For the subtitles, please click CC in the youtube window.
On A Taxi Across the South Caucasus
Those who habitually went to cafe ‘Amra,’ located on one of the three quays of Sukhum beach, called themselves ‘Amratians.’ Today the cafe doesn’t function any longer. The building, which is gradually being destroyed by the sea and time, once used to attract the beaumonde of Sukhum. Svetlana Korsaya was one of the ‘Amratians,’ and now is the director of Gulia museum. She passes by the building very often, and in her view, it’s very sad that the movement of ‘Amratians’ ceased to exist. On the other hand, it’s also a matter of the epoch; once the ‘Amratians’ used to fight the regime, and nowadays no one needs either ‘Amra’ or ‘Amratians’.
The Abandoned Famous Soviet Cafe of Sokhum
For many in the Caucasus, Abkhazia symbolizes conflict. But for 21-year-old Syrian refugee Alexandra Kanbar and her 23-year-old brother, Ahmad, this mountainous land on the Black Sea is all about the chance for a fresh start. In 2012, when war broke out in Syria, their family fled from Damascus to Abkhazia’s main town, Sukhum, the birthplace of the Kanbars’ mother, an ethnic Russian.
Abkhazia Offers New Life for Syrian Refugees
Madina [not her real name] got married in her early 20’s for love, but 15 years later her husband turned out to be an abusive alcoholic - also jobless he is unable to provide any support for her and their four children. Social pressure means she must hold on - in Abkhazia everyone knows everyone, families are considered strictly private realms, and the abuses she endures are considered “a private business.”
Abkhazia: The Violence No One Admits Exists
Alisa is five years old, but she doesn’t know it. She cannot say her age as her speech is limited to three words: mama, baba (for babushka or “grandmother” in Russian), and dai (“give” in Russian). Yet she smiles a lot, in a true tribute to her being a “sunny girl” as children with Down syndrome are often described. She holds tight onto her baba’s hand as they walk into a bookstore in downtown Sukhum, Abkhazia’s main town. Next stop, the playground. Like any other child, Alisa loves playing, but, more often than not, other children keep her at a distance.