I met Egresia on top of a big hill where she quietly sold candles for people visiting a small church. Most days she makes a two hour hike to the top to sell her candles, and at dusk she heads back down for another two hours, what an iron lady! (Of course, she confirmed that she eats her yogurt…) As the sun was setting, we hiked down together and she showed me where to find walnuts, rosehips and fresh spring water.
Without me asking, Egresia let me know that she’s Ossetian and 74 y o. South Ossetia is one of the seperatist regions in Georgia where the conflict escalated into a war that lasted five days in 2008. (That’s why I’m here, to monitor the ceasefire agreement between the parties). Her sister is still in South Ossetia but Egresia says she can’t go there any more. Sadly enough, they may never be able to reunite.. It is incredibly difficult to understand that an invisible line can seperate family and friends like that, for what? Egresias eyes were deep, her warmth was radiating that chilly evening, and seems that she has long since accepted her fate. As we hiked down, I’m sure she was happy at heart knowing that she’d soon be greated by her sons and grandchildren at home.