For street cleaner, changes are positive

By Ana Davitashvili
Brosse Street Journal
Tuesday, February 21 2012

Nine years ago, Aisha Khatoeva, now 52, decided to give up her job. She was one of those who cleaned Freedom Square and Rustavli Avenue during the Rose Revolution demonstrations. But when the revolution occurred, she stopped receiving a paycheck and finally, she quit.
“Old government had resigned; revolutionaries had no time to spare on us,” she said.
One morning the postman came and left an envelope with the next door neighbor, asking that the neighbor give it to Khatoeva.
“I was at home. I thought he was a gas collector, but as my meter was turned off I didn’t open the door,” she said.
The envelope was from the Tbilisi government. They asked Khatoeva to come to work, and promised to increase her salary after elections.
“It turned out that even an uneducated Kurd was useful for them,” she said of herself.
Since 2003, she has worked as a yard-keeper at Aleqsandre’s Square. Her working day starts at 7a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. The job isn’t highly paid, but now she gets her salary on time.
She isn’t afraid to work at night. A lighted street, safe squares, and drinking isn’t allowed. Now she feels safe. No one minds that she isn’t ethnically Georgian. She’s a Kurd.Her daughter will finish school this year and is going to take the national exams and get a university education.
“For us it was like a dream, but now it’s a reality,” she said.
She says that new generation’s thinking has changed. Her daughter has more opportunity to have a better life.
“Oh, and do you know what has changed? Now my gas meter works and I pay taxes honestly,” she said.

Copyright © 2004, Brosse Street Journal.