One morning , Zura asked me to join him in going out to a house they were building in the ‘country’ (what I have taken to be analogous with ‘village’ here in Georgia).
The goal of building the house is for the eventual benefit of their daughter, Anna. They don’t want her to grow up in the city air of Tbilisi. The new house is in the outskirts of Tbilisi, a little further than Mtskheta, in an area called Saguramo.
When we exited the main highway toward Saguramo, I anticipated the unpaved, rock-ridden paths that pass for roads in village life. But just the opposite occurred. The road stayed smooth. I expected to see the weather worn homes surrounded by miniature gardens growing everything needed to stay alive during the winter months. Instead we passed rows and rows of high brick or cement privacy walls.
Once at the end of the street, which was also the top of the hill, I was able to get an overview of the community. This was not a normal village. It wasn’t even a village per se. It was more like a moneyed community.
I didn’t think I would see anything new, so there are no pictures. Maybe next time.
Approaching his home, I could see over his high cement fence to observe a three-story home. It was HUGE. One side was glass from top to bottom enclosing the stairwell. Although the outside was pretty much done, the inside was still being dry walled, and fitted with electric wires and plumbing.
While I was wrapping my mind around seeing my first in ground swimming pool in Georgia in a neighbor’s yard, Zura came out and explained what this ‘neighborhood’ was all about. Like Zura’s family, all the residents here wanted to have a house outside of the city. They had to buy the property, then build the home. They also had to pay individually for all amenities to get to their homes, i.e., electricity, Internet, plumbing. Those things alone priced most people out of the neighborhood. On top of that, the price rose because of the status of the neighbors. As he pointed out house after house, I got confused between Minister of This and Minister of That, or this house belongs to that athlete.
Zura and the father-in-law started building the house together back in ’09 from the ground up. After he died, Zura took in on himself. He hopes to have the top two living areas complete in about a year. That day, he had 6 workers doing various tasks. He has to come out often to make sure the workmanship is up to standard. That’s one thing true to past observation- shoddy work in construction work. But although Zura is exacting, he is generous. He bought the crew a couple of litters of beer.
WALTER: [W]e have decided to move into our house because my father—my father—he earned it for us brick by brick. We don’t want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that’s all we got to say about that.
-A Raisin In The Sun, Lorraine Hansberry