76 years together – Adjarian couple and their 162 descendants
17 May, 2017
76 years together – Adjarian couple and their 162 descendants
In the village of Garetke, in Adjara’s Merisi gorge, there live 94-year-old Zekie and 95-year-old Hasan Turmanidzes, a couple who share their house with their children and grandchildren. The story of this couple is particularly interesting because they have been living together for 76 years and leave 162 descendants to this world: 8 children, 37 grandchildren, 86 great-grandchildren and 31 great-great-grandchildren. Batumelebi.netgazeti.ge reports:

"As it has recently turned out, Georgian Records Federation has got interested with this elderly couple as well. Jason Turmanidze, one of their children, says several days ago someone from the Federation contacted them and said they were going to visit Hasan and Zakie. Until then, Turmanidzes plan to gather and take some family photos.

‘They called and asked me to send them my parents’ marriage certificate. We found it in archived documents and sent it immediately. As I was told, they will visit us soon and they plan to induct Zakie and Hassan into the Guiness Book of Records’, - Jason Turmanidze says.

The President of the Georgian Records Federation David Begiashvili says 76 years is the longest period spent in marriage in Georgian recorded history, but universally the record is held by others and it is 86 years.

Zekie Dumbadze was born in the village of Medzibna in 1920 and after marrying Hasan, took his last name - Turmanidze.

‘I was 20 and she was 19 when we married’, - Hasan says, - ‘From then on we have always been together’.
So, the story of their family began in 1941. That was exactly when the Soviet Union got involved in the World War II, which was followed by famine. Zekie was from the neighboring village. She still remembers the traditional Adjarian wedding party very well.

‘There were no cars and nothing like that in those days. So they took me by horse. There were six horses in all. I was riding one of them and my bridesmaid was riding beside me. The weddings began at night back then and they continued the next day. Everybody had horses in the village and when somebody married, the neighbors were lending their horses to one another’, - Zekie remembers.

Shortly after their marriage, the famine began. The life was so hard that everything changed, even the recipe to make mchadi (corn bread).

‘When we married, the very first winter was very tough. There was so much snow
that everything was ruined - maize, beans, vegetables – everything. The life was very hard. Then someone said that it was possible to use beech bark, grind it and mix with corn flour to make mchadi. So everybody went to the woods to bring some beech barks. That was awful. Many people died in the village and then we realized the beech bark was not good for health. Then we used potatoes and pumpkins. Those were terrible days’, - Zekie says.

She’s now 97 years old and remembers very well the days when there were separate schools for girls and boys. She also remembers how the elderly women wore hijabs.

‘I was young back then and I never wore hijab, nor did other young girls in the village. But older women did when they were going to other villages. That was the rule back then. Now it’s different and I like it this way better. I went to school for only four years. There was one room at our neighbor’s house and that was our school. Some older women were coming to learn to read and write as well. So, after four years I was forced to leave school to help my parents at home. I had 7 brothers and sisters. I was the oldest, so I was doing most of the work’, - Zekie says.
Photo courtesy of Batumi

Apparently, Hasan’s family was relatively better off, because he says he was able to finish school.

‘When I finished the primary school here, I was then sent to Merisi to continue with the studies. We had to walk about 10 kilometers every day. Those were terrible days. There were no roads, no electricity and no water. I remember the first day when someone came to the village by car, on a new road. The people here were so happy that they invited the man to have a feast, because he had done a hard job by arriving by car,’ Zekie continues with her story, ‘One year after we got married, our first daughter was born, then came five more girls, but my mother-in-law was not mad about that. In those times, it was usual for a mother-in-law to get angry if her daughter in law did not give birth to a boy. My mother-in-law was different: she never made me feel that she was angry. Our sixth child was a boy and then there was another girl. ‘

Zekie and Hasan have health problems now. Zekie can only walk with the help of a stick and she only moves from one room to another – never goes out of the house. She says she has problems of blood pressure too. As for Hasan, he lost sight in one eye a year ago and he also has problems of walking alone.

‘We’ll be 100 years old very soon. I have pressure problems, but thank God we have so many descendants to look after us. I loved reading newspapers very much, but I have lost my sight and I am staying in bed most of the time’, Hasan says."


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