Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, called the Grassia, is the oldest person in Ariha. I met her for a tea outside her house.
A.S.: Grassia, can you tell me a little bit about you and how you came to Ariha?
V.T.: I was born in Vozrozhdeniya in 1932. My father was a fisherman but our family later worked in cotton production. I married and came to Tbilisi in 1957. My husband was an engineer and we had a apartment in Tbilisi. In the late 1976 my husband was granted a dacha here in Ariha for his work in Prypjat. We then stayed all the summers until my husband's death in 1987 in Ariha.
A.S.: What happened then?
V.T.: After my husband died I mostly stayed in Tbilisi and didn't feel like spending the summer without him here. And after the Soviet Union collapse noone went back to the dachas.
A.S.: And why did you decide to come back to Ariha?
V.T.: When our house was getting too small for me (laughs). I moved to my daughter's house in 2003 to help her with the household and the younger children. 5 years ago my granddaughter gave birth to her children and the house was getting smaller. Then I heard that people were moving back to Ariha and that the old houses were still there. I thought it was a good idea to go back to were I spend my happy days. Tbilisi is growing and is too busy for people in my age now. Here I have my small house, young people around me and I can help them out with small things. I miss my family but I feel more happy with the nature here and the young village. Even if I don't understand most of what all the young people say (laughs).
Of 142 inhabitants in Ariha 17 have lived in Ariha before and came back in the recent years. With an increasing internationalization and communication mostly held in English it is sometimes difficult to fully support the interests of the elderly, but integrative projects have proven a big success and tied neighbours together.