Wednesday, 13 November

Woman Harvester Operator with Painted Nails Makes Villagers Forget Their Hail Damaged Crop Losses

Every since mid-August, the main concern on the mind of Ghadolar residents in the Georgian Akhalkalak area has been the wheat harvester.

That’s to say, villagers were constantly asking, “When will that harvester arrive to thrash our wheat and barley?”

Ghadolar lies 22 kilometers from the regional capital of Akhalkalak. Half the road, once paved long ago, is little more than dirt. Former Georgian President Saakashvili ordered the other half repaved because it leads to a ski center.

Due to the road’s poor condition, taxi drivers are hesitant to take fares to Ghadolar.

Getting a harvester to the village is a problem Ghadolar residents face annually this time of year. It’s a question of waiting until the harvesters of neighboring villages have finished their work so that they can come to Ghadolar.

Unfortunately, this year the hailstorms hit Ghadolar sooner than the harvester arrived. The 2-3 centimeter hail that struck the village on August 23 left a wave of devastation in its wake.

Fields of wheat and barley were flattened by the hail.

On the day when the hail hit, there was a burial in the village. At the memorial luncheon afterwards, a brave woman rose and derided the village men folk for failing to get a harvester to the fields in time.

But there aren’t many men left in the village. A large number have gone to Russia as migrant laborers.

In the days following the hailstorm, the complaints of the villagers reached the ear of the mayor who, in turns out, hadn’t called in any government officials to inspect the damage and assess the amount.

This is the second time this year that Ghadolar has been hit with hail with devastating consequences for the local agriculture.

Finally, two days after the hailstorm, a combine reached Ghadolar from a neighboring village to harvest what was still standing. Another one arrived the next day. This second combine operator was charging almost twice as much as in the village he had arrived from.

Some Ghadolar residents were forced to pay his prices before a third harvester arrived on the scene.

Many were taken aback to see a woman behind the wheel – a Georgian named Nana. She works as a ‘foreman’ at a farm in the village of Kotelia.

The youngsters in Ghadolar would go to the fields to watch this woman drive the harvester, especially since Nana struck an eye-catching figure in her feminine clothes and painted nails.

Residents would say that Nana is the daughter of a combine driver and that her skills behind the wheel are partly hereditary.

With the salvaged crop harvested and sacked away, Ghadolar residents are no longer thinking about compensation or complaining.

Their new topic of conversation is Nana and her manicured nails. 

P.S. I wasn’t able to talk to Nana or photograph her. It was raining when I reached Ghadolar and Nana had left the harvester and had gone home. 

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