Cash Out

I was coming back from Chokhatauri a couple of weeks ago with bevri money in my pocket. We’d just been paid, and as part of the contract, we have to throw a hundred lari towards our host family as rent. The marshutka dropped me off at the abandoned gas station but hung around for some reason, so I left and walked up the street. Jamal came by on the family marshutka and picked me up. “You got the money?” he asked. I handed over five twenties. (We drove to the same marsh that dropped me off and they unloaded 300 pounds of potatoes (in 50-pound sacks). We gave them 30 lari. We loaded the sacks of potatoes, drove around the village, and unloaded them at Jamal’s brother’s house. He gave us 15 lari and a green bucket full of cheese.

At least the economy makes sense in my family. We’re muslim so daddy doesn’t drink and gamble it all away. Also we’re on a farm. What is not eaten is packed into plaid canvas bags and sold in Ozurgeti. I hear other villages make less sense. The men drink and play backgammon all day, and the women have education, jobs, money, and children. So I hear.

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