Mzia came to the care of SOS Children's Village Tbilisi when she was ten years old. She held the hand of her little brother, Mishiko, scared and unsure what this place was about. Within a few minutes, she found herself in the loving atmosphere of SOS mother Nana's home. In her family, she hasn't been scared since.
Her three parents
Mzia and her brother spent their earliest childhood in extreme poverty. Their mother abandoned the family when Mzia was little and was never heard of again. The two children lived with their father and the old grandmother, both of whom were ill. Her father, sensing his end was near, took the children to the village with a heavy heart. He kissed them goodbye and within a month, he died.
Two girls putting puzzle together (Photo: Katerina Ilievska)
'Mzia speaks lovingly of her father, but she never forgave her mother,' says Nana. 'She doesn't talk about her much. When she does, it is always with anger. She is determined that she never wants to see her again.' When the girl talks about her parents, she always lists three people: dad, grandma and mom, the last being her SOS mother Nana.
By mom's side
Mzia adapted very quickly to her new family. She found friends at the village and at school and established close relations with her SOS sisters. She deepened her bond with her little brother, who became and remained the family's favourite as he's the youngest and only boy. She shares a room with him and there isn't a thing in the world she wouldn't do for her mischievous kid brother.
The thirteen-year-old formed a strong bond with SOS mother Nana partly due to her character. 'She's more of a homely type,' says Nana. 'Always likes to stick by my side, see what I do, meddle with my housework.' 'I prefer doing housework to homework,' admits the girl with a giggle. Nana then continues with a scorn: 'She's a bit lazy when it comes to school. She learns enough to get by, but can do more.'
Yucky school, yummy kitchen
Girl reading a book (Photo: Katerina Ilievska)
Homework is a nightmare for Mzia. She would do it in a hurry just to get it over with not paying attention how she did it or what she wrote. 'Mzia is a sloppy school girl,' Nana shakes her head while Mzia still giggles. 'The only thing which occupies her full attention is food. She's a promising cook and a dedicated gourmet,' now Nana smiles. 'I am happy she likes my dishes so much, though I warn her that I won't bear her weight complaints any more.'
Mzia knows about a dozen recipes for soups. 'I love soups. My favourite is one with potatoes and onions and tomatoes and spices. You boil them together, mash them, add fresh herbs and mmm...yummy!' On weekends, Nana also entrusts her with preparing mashed potatoes or assisting with French fries.
On the mention of some of her favourite food, Mzia remembers her, quote 'worst period of her life ever' when earlier this year she had her tonsils removed. 'I couldn't eat solid food for fifteen days!' she exclaims to which her mother says it was only a week. 'It felt like longer,' Mzia protests.
Coming back to school matters throws the seventh-grader in a foul mood, but she cheers up when languages are mentioned. 'I study Russian and English. I know more Russian, but right now I learn English faster. I would like to learn French and Italian and become an interpreter. Also, my grandma is teaching me Armenian,' says Mzia adding that her grandma* is half Armenian.
Mzia and Mishiko visit their grandmother regularly and spend part of their summer vacation with her. The old lady is full of praise about her granddaughter and never forgets to update SOS mother Nana on how well-behaved and hard working around the house she is. Mzia interrupts: 'I am just an ordinary girl from an ordinary family. I go to school, I clean my room, I help my mother, I love to eat and I love to smile. Just like all ordinary girls,' Mzia ends with one of her recognizable smiles.
* SOS Children's Villages is convinced that maintaining ties to family members is crucial when it comes to a child's well being and promoting his/her further development if the SOS child still has natural parents and/or close relatives and if there are positive emotional connections between the SOS child and his/her relatives. This is why we support SOS children in keeping in touch with their relatives.