A week ago I was asigned Patrol Leader for the first time. I must say I quite enjoyed having this responsibility, engaging in the task with my fullest capacity of professionalism, doing my best to involve my team as much as possible and approaching the local population with warmth and human dignity. I hope I will improve my professional skills and stay openhearted, present and humble as time goes by.
I asked one mother if she knows who we are, the EUMM, and she laughed and said “Of course we do! When our son saw you coming, he said to us, ‘Look, our friends are coming!” [Left] Just about everyone I meet while patrolling appreciate our presence and this really makes the job worthwhile. On this note, it is really a shame that we are not allowed to enter South Ossetia and build relations to them and learn about their living conditions and their view on the conflict.
With the winter coming up these villagers face severe hardships, in particular to heat their houses. Many are not connected to gas, and even if they are, gas is too expensive. Electricity is out of the question. The vast majority rely on firewood for heating but since the conflict in 2008 it is more difficult to access firewood and prices are rising. Some even cut their apple trees to get heat in one room.. After sharing their reality with us, these ladies said I look like their priest. “Let your beard grow and then find a lady here! Well, perhaps not in this village, but in town!” they said, laughing. Beautiful people!
A few days after that nice day temperature fell below zero and snow covered this region. As I turn on my gas heater for comfort in my appartment my thoughts go to these villagers. But I know I cannot imagine what life is like for them now.