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Walking the Walk in Georgia, Part III

If you're new to all this - catch up with Part 1 and Part 2.  These are a touch stale - I'm putting them up so there is a record - in Google, of one of the off-the-cuff spur-of-the-moment relief efforts undertaken for the people of Georgia.  This isn't news, perhaps, but it is history, and history worth recording.

August 26, 2008 11:22:47 AM CDT

It is with great sadness that everyone in Georgia and especially the hard working and exhaused ACTS team watched as the Russian president signed the Russian parliament law which recognized the ancient Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossestia as independent countiries. This would be like Canada recognizing Missouri as an independent country. It would be illegal and nonsense. The Russians have been baiting the West and Georgia for some time now. They are worried that NATO will finally in the fall 2008 meeting admited Georgia to the MAP (third tier of NATO).

I am attaching the lastest distrubtion at the Arigiculture Institute Hostel. There are 116 displaced people from Tskhinvali South Ossestia making up 39 families. They have been in this facilty for 10 days.

These are very brave people. Their stories are so sad as we delivered food and asked what else is needed. These families are just like yours and mine. Imagine that you are at home and then the next minute you are running for your life. I noticed a man without shoes and after our team left (not to call attention to him) I went back in an asked if I could bring him shoes tomorrow. This very proud man cried as he told me that he was in his home in Tskhinvili when the invasion came. He had his evening slippers on. He and his family fled with just what they were wearing. During the long walk, his slippers disintegrated. He did not want shoes instead he asked that we help the young family living in the next room whose young child needs pampers and processed baby food. Of course we will try to do both things.

The government of Georgia is doing an outstanding job given the situation. They have 621 living centers mostly school and old government buildings not in use. Each center has a volunteer director the Georgian government to ask for volunteers and choose the most qualified. ACTS is working to help 39 centers but the needs are many.

Today ACTS did an assessment. One of our ACTS staff will be the coordinating director to help organize the incoming humanitarian aid. Please understand that while everyone is working hard. The list of millions of dollar of incoming aid are presented to the UN organization committee. There is no one to help the one person at the center who is working as the coordinator.

When we called and ask the director what was the most needed, she told us they had not received any dairy products since the war started. Today we took 39 packages of diary products. The Georgian government delivered bread regularly. Our hearts reached out to each of these 39 families.
They need:
milk fresh
evaporated milk (for cooking)
coottage cheese
sour cream (* which is a staple of georgian diet)
and butter.

One elderly gentleman as we were leaving had no shoes and i asked could we help you find shoes and he cried. When the bombing began with the tanks and troops coming into his village, he was in his evening slippers watching TV as he ran with his family his slippers disintegated.

Tommorrow we are returning. We have asked five other NGOs to join us in the distribution of urgently needed items.

Many groups are doing many things are all good; however ACTS is one of the few that is taking specific IDP  [Internally Displaced Persons] facilities and assigning one of our team to help coordinate. This center of 39 families has five small portable gas stoves on which to cook with no refrigeator in the five story building. While there is running water, the building has no working toliet or shower. Three families have four small children who need pampers and 2 have 8 month old children that need processed baby food. Several elderly people need medications.

These people are in shock with post traumatic stress syndrome but as in all situations hope is always there. The center as a group had one request. One of the young girls is a senior at Tbilisi State University in pre-law school. All the people at this center want to support her. The $750 tutition is beyond all their collective funds. We hope to find way to support her and buy her books. Her family was not wealthly but they lived a comfortable life. Now there is nothing. I promised her that ACTS would arrange the $750 scholarship and would pay for her books. The needs are urgent for these brave people. ACTS personal and facility center approach is urgently needed to coordinate the aid and restore hope to these innocent displaced persons.

Thanks for you interest and please ask all who read this to keep Georgian in their prayers this is a hard and sad time in Georgia.

Knowing that the world is thinking of Georgia is a source of strength.

Best regards, Trish