Friday, 12 September 2008

Life in Shenako a selection of images

I hope the following selection of images will give insight into life in Shenako. They are not meant to be a romantic idea of life in Tusheti but life as we observed it on a daily basis. If I've edited out anything that might alter the true picture of life, it's us all getting very drunk on Chacha - local vodka. I'll leave that to your own imagination.

Above is one of the village bread ovens, shared by many families.

Bread making in Tusheti is an essential part of life. Unlike at home where Melissa would make a couple of loaves and freeze some for eating later this lot has got to last the whole week and often shared with neighbours or relatives.

The girls tried hard at milking but it obviously needs a great deal of practice to get as good as Nino and her family ,who made the task appear effortless.

What is it about toilets? When travelling it's what many people from more wealthy countries cringe at. No flushing loo's ,my goodness how could they? Well I'm very fond of this dry toilet, it's right in the middle of the cow field and at night we all had great fun making our way past the cows for a quick pee.

Making Khinkali, a sort of meat dumpling, is as important to Georgians as! Well I was going to say as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is in the UK but that's an insult to Georgia. Take it from me this is 'the' national dish bar none.

Here's India collecting her water for the day at the sweet well, down by the winter village. When you look into this well there is a trout swimming contentedly. He/she has been put there to eat any frogs or creepy crawlies that might find their way into the well. Who needs technology when you have a fish to do the work?

A Tush saddle. Simple even basic but brilliant for the mountains. No fuss and all you need plus a nice cushion and a good horse .

Nino's parlor and through the door you can see her kitchen. I seem to have made a habit of hitting my head as I went through the door. In 2008 I fell over ( while worse for ware) and broke a rib which didn't help .

This is a picture of the oldest man in Shenako. The house is typical of the Shenako vernacular architecture. We sat opposite each other during part of the festival although he kept falling asleep. A wonderful man and I think he lives in Shenako all year round but I may be wrong.

My very good friend Zao, Nino's husband. A brilliant sportsman, football player and certainly knows how to party. Although neither of us can speak each others language he taught me a great deal about life. A true Tush with a heart of gold.

The girls playing football at dusk against the Shenako boys with Zao on their side. They won. Hooray!

Here is Iona looking out from Nino's old winter house, no longer in use.

The gang.

Elene who is Nino's daughter is on the left. Behind her is Iona in the green. In front with the long hair and glasses is India. Behind India next to Iona is Goggi, our horseman and brother of Elene. Then we have Irma, our very good friend, guide and translator. And finally Carlo who was Goggi's best friend, Irma's cousin and good friends with all the girls. This crew had some amazing times together and experienced a summer never to be forgotten.

Melissa, my wife, in a contemplative moment looking down over Shenako.

The lads after a few, well more than a few Chacha's (local Vodka's).

This house would have been magnificent in it's day . Now it just needs some love to bring it back to life.
Not a very flattering picture of our room. Simple and a place where I slept like a baby.


yvan said...

Thanks for all these informations and pictures . We are two belgian people and we want to go to Georgia athe end of Augustus . Are there homestays in Alvani ?

To go to Chatilli , do you think that we 'll find a jeep in barikasso? Thanks a lot?
Yvan and bernadette

Anonymous said...

have you ever been to the range of Himalaya..if not then please visit , then compare the same with tusheti and write

Chris said...

Hi Anonymous yes I did a similar trip with my family traveling in the Himalayas in South Yunnan staying with the Yi,Naxi and Lisu people.The horses and mules were amazing as are the people . Perhaps one of the best trips we have ever made.
You will need to copy this link into your browser.
Cheers Chris

Laura said...

Hi Chris, thank you for your wonderful blog. Just wondering how did you find your homestay places in Tusheti? My husband and I hope to make a similar trip.
thanks a lot
Laura and Aaron

Tom said...

Congratulations Admin! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this exciting information.
Click Here

Bill Donahue said...

Hello Chris

I am back from my trip to Eurasia...and away from the computer on which I have your email address. I'm sorry to say that I never did make it to Tusheti. I still did go to Georgia to report the Lermontov story, but as it turned out I met some people who were heading out to Khevsureti. I went with them and there in Khevsureti I found some very interesting material for my story. Essentially, I was staying at a small inn owned by an artist who was a Khevsureti cultural preservation. He did paintings celebrating the Khevsureti folk traditions, had built a replica Khevsureti church, etc...and several other like-minded people came by while I was there. It was a great experience. I'm sad, though, that I never did make it to Tusheti. I appreciate all your help..and I hope you will understand how some times travel takes us on an unpredictable course. :)

Thanks again...and all the best,