Welcome to the website of Camillians in Georgia. Father Akaki Chelidze, Father Paweł Dyl, Father Zygmunt NiedĽwiedĽ, Camillian Sisters, the Lay Camillian Family and volunteers from around the world serve the poor and the sick coming from that beautiful Caucasian country.
Centre for Disabled
In Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, a centre for disabled is being built. The building will be two-storey with basement. The roof will be two-sloping, forming characteristic cross (seen from a bird's eye view), known from the Camilian's habit.
The centre will be named after Lasza Tzilikauri and that is why I would like to tell you something about him.
WHY THE LASZA TZILIKAURI CENTRE?
I remember when I first went to Lasza's home to admit him to a suitable therapeutic group. Behind the door I could hear many children screaming when hearing the door bell ringing. We entered the flat ... dark corridor, narrow kitchen and two small rooms. Lasza was sitting in front of the tv. We greeted each other and he held out his paralysed hand with great effort and smiled. Already after the first visit it turned out that Lasza is a nice boy who liked the company of others. We assigned him to a group of children in his age and suggested that he came to our "school" three times a week. And so our acquaintance began. When he came here for the first time, he was with his mother so that she could see our House and the conditions that we worked in. He quickly started getting on well with the other children who were being brought to our House for a long time. I felt a bit sorry that I couldn't talk to him because of the language barrier as Lasza only spoke Georgian while I had just begun learning this language. With the help of people who knew it also I could have quick chats with him during his short life which became a part of my memory as well as the memory of all who met him in our House.
He was born on the 22nd of July 1986. He was the first child. In the hospital in Ortaciala, where he was born "he was the prettiest child', says his mother. All the nurses and midwives were delighted, they kissed him and carried him in their arms. After three weeks, first health problems appeared. He was taken to a children's hospital and the diagnosis was sepsis. Lasza was a beloved child and his mother dedicated all her time, love and attention to him. It had a negative impact on her husband who started to feel neglected. He claimed that he should be on the first place, not the child. And so they started to argue, more and more often. Once, when his mother was not at home, Lasza had an attack and because of unknown reason he lost consciousness. He was three months old then. An ambulance took him to a hospital to the intensive care unit. Examinations showed that he had a cerebral haemorrhage. After eight days in the hospital, the diagnosis was: "cerebral palsy". Lasza lost his sight and was partially paralysed but he always recognized his mother when she visited him at the hospital. Her voice made him glad and he smiled when he heard her. Lasza's mother gave birth to a pair of twins who were born in the seventh month. Both children died directly after childbirth but the doctors managed to save their mother. Later Lasza and his mother stayed at Lasza's grandmother's and his father was taken to the army. but he came to visit his son and he regularly gave them money. Lasza was emotionally involved with his father but he couldn't stand quarrels and reacted with cry. "When he was 1,5 year old, my husband started a huge quarrel and Lasza had such hysterics that I can still hear him crying", says his mother. "I tried to make up with my husband but without any effect. And we split up definitely". In April 1987 Lasza was baptized in Norio, one of the country Orthodox churches. When he was four years old he suddenly started walking. His mother went out to bring the broom from the corridor and left a bucket with hot water in the kitchen. Nobody expected that the boy will start walking exactly in that moment. But it was already too late. Lasza burned his hand and was taken to the hospital. He and his mother spent many hours in the waiting room but nobody took any notice of the crying child and the doctor on duty was not there. They had to get back. After three days he got high temperature and an infection started. And it started all again - hospital, doctors... Lasza was a very calm child. He liked to play with spoons and everything that makes noise. He was interested in stage music and he watched musical programs on tv the whole day and he even fell asleep when listening to the music. Daily laborious exercises and teaching him how to walk, first in straps and later holding him by the hand helped Lasza a lot. When he was 10, the doctors pronounced that the disease will stay on the stage it was at that time and that nothing more could be done. None of the doctors could make a precise diagnosis. Lasza didn't attend school because of his poor eyesight. Ophthalmologists said that an operation would not change anything because the changes were irreparable.Lasza's mother got divorced and married another man. In 1995 Lasza's brother was born - Nikolom. Lasza was always with him. It can seem strange, but as his mother said, Lasza didn't show childlike egoism. He gave everything to his brother, he took care about him, sat by his pram and rocked him, sang songs that he heard on TV or those that his grandmother taught him. When the third son - Dato - came to this world, the family moved to an own flat. "We got a flat on the ground floor but it turned out that the higher floors didn't have water and all the neighbors came to us. Lasza was hiding from them, afraid of showing himself. He was aware of the fact that he was a bit different so he went to another room so that nobody could see him." tells his mother. He liked to sit by the window and watch children playing outside. Children also looked at the new neighbour and Lasza asked: "Mother, why are they looking at me in that way? Because I'm ill?" "No", said his mother, "because we are new here". Lasza didn't show his suffering and he didn't say that it was hard for him. During the great economic crisis in Georgia, when people lacked everything, Lasza used to say: "Mother, we are adults so we will eat only bread. Let's leave the rest of food for children." Lasza was a different child then all the others. He acted like a grown-up person. He could understand when it was good and when there were some family problems. He liked to sit in the kitchen, together with his mother, when she was preparing dinner. His favorite meals were hinkali, sausages and stuffed cabbages.One day a teacher who taught disabled children at their homes visited him. She told him about our Order and so I went to Lasza's home for the first time.
Since October 2004 Lasza came to our house for disabled. He was ver glad when he got to know that he was going to attend school. He liked best to travel by car and he was always cheerful and rested even if it was early in the morning. He used to say: "Get a move on, Brother Robert! Get a move on!". And I remembered him in that way. His mother noticed that he didn't leave anything for himself but gave to his brothers each present that he got. She also noticed that he changed a lot, grew up, and told her what had happen each day and what he had been doing. He also had a friend in his group - Giorgi; Lasza spent most of the time with him, they discussed, played draughts together and it was clear that they had found a common language. And then it was Christmas time. We prepared a party for children and their families. Lasza instructed his brothers: "Behave yourselves so that I won't have to be ashamed of you!". Parents were very moved when they saw so many disabled children. We had really good fun. Of course, we also had a visit from Santa Clause who gave everyone a present. Classes at our House of Daily Stay continued. Children draw cribs, Christmas trees and mountains covered with snow. During our biology lessons we talked about animals who had difficulties with founding food in the snow. And then spring days came, warm and sunny. We started going on trips and we went for walks. After a trip to an old, Orthodox church Lasza came back very happy. He told long stories at his home about the church, candles that he lit on side altars while praying for his family and about the great atmosphere later in the restaurant. The boy was at that point very close with his peers and everybody liked him. In May he became ill. He didn't come to our House for three weeks. I passed by his house every second day and I asked his father about his health. Lasza had a fever, cough and felt ver weak. It didn't look like a usual flu. I decided to take him to our polyclinic so that we could find out what the state of his health was. His mother couldn't go with us because she was in an advanced stage of pregnancy and she felt bad since a few days. Lasza was put through several examinations. After an ultrasound and consultation with other doctors it turned out that in the pleura there was some kind of adhesion or fluid. Lasza got a referral to Children's Hospital where he had his lungs examined and a number of X - rays. The hospital's professor suggested hospitalization but he said that because of a national holiday and four days' holidays after it it would be better to take him home and give him prescribed medicines there. After one week we were supposed to come for examination. Maybe the professor knew already that it was too late for hospitalization. Lasza had problems with breathing. Each morning and evening I went to him to put him on a drip. In spite of his suffering he was happy, he laughed and joked. When I put him on a drip, he manfully bore the pain. He encouraged me: "If you don't manage, try again". He asked about everyone in our House, I answered to his questions and his mother translated. None of us expected that these were his last days. After all, nowadays people don't die because of pneumonia...
In the last day of his short life, Lasza was very scared. He said: "Mother, I'm scared that I will die" as if he sensed his death... He asked his mother for stuffed cabbages, ate them and then he asked for groats which he liked but he only manage to eat one spoon of it. He sat in an armchair because in that way it was easier for him to breathe and dozed off. In the evening he took his medicines but he didn't want to sleep in his bed but in the armchair. He had fever all the time. At night he got a dyspnoeic attack and his mother called an ambulance. He was taken to the Children's Hospital to the intensive care unit and was given an oxygen mask but he didn't want it because otherwise he wouldn't be able to talk to his mother. He waited for his father who was still at work. When he came, Lasza told his mother to go home and take some rest. Before she left, she stroked him and he asked her to go and let him sleep. Lasza fell asleep... and didn't regain consciousness. On the 8th of May 2005 Lasza was declared dead.
He told his mother in confidence that he would like to see his own father but unfortunately they didn't meet...
Lasza's funeral was on the 13th of May.
Lasza Tzilikauri stayed among us. Each time we recollect our memories about him he is somehow present. We remembered him as a smiled and always cheerful person, such as on the picture which hangs in our classroom. He remained for us a model of how to put up with suffering patiently. Thank you Lasza for everything! Thank you for each day you spent with us! And now intercede for us with our Best Father who took You to His House. We choose to name our Centre after You, which we, with God's help and people's dedication, hope to build.
To all the Donors and Benefactors who support this work we say from the bottom of our hearts: God bless you.
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Brother Robert Kukułka