A visit to Georgia

The Temi Community in Gremi Village, Georgia.

In 2007 I came across an article in a magazine about healing music in Georgia. And since healing is one of my special interests, and I had known of the beauty of Georgia for many years, I thought I would contact the writer and see if I could visit. In summer 2008 the Russians invaded South Ossetia. The war only lasted four days, but the country remained unsettled, and there were warnings from the British Embassy as to which areas were safe to visit.

My plane was routed through Armenia. Only eighteen people remained on the flight when it arrived in Tbilisi at 3.00am. I took two little harps with me as a gift. I was met cheerfully at the airport and chauffeured back to a safe little village in Kakheti. It was just the beginning of a wonderful month.

Georgia is very mountainous. I stayed in the Gombori Mountains most of the time, but was taken to stay for a week in the Temi Community at the foot of the Caucasus. The photo above is the home building of the Temi Community. It is extremely basic and lacks showers and provision for wheelchairs, and all the simple health and safety installations that we take for granted. I met many children, including Datuna (seen below, in his wheelchair) who had come to Gremi as a haven from the tough world outside.

So the first way in which I felt I could help my new friends was by fund-raising for this needy community. Since then, Datuna has come to Scotland twice for medical treatment for his back. There is no way he can be helped in Georgia. The second way I could help was by supporting Georgians who come to the UK to share their ancient polyphonic music. Thirdly, I am helping Shorena to come to the UK to train to work in the community.


Datuna in his wheelchair

Harps in Heather © 2010 E M Westhead.

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