walking to the nearby supermarket took quite a long time, even though it was only a hundred meters away. He said “Hello” to everyone we passed, sometimes stopping to introduce me to them as well. “How are you Aleks?” people called from their cars. He replied with an enthusiastic thumbs up. Watching him, I wondered if I had ever met someone as friendly and positive as him. Although he brimmed with warmth and independence, it was only quite recently that he’d learned to go out by himself.
Always happy on his own, he loves his room full of Lego creations where he often talks to someone. His door is shut, Aleks is by himself, yet he is constantly chatting to someone or another. He is obsessed by this myriad of imagined characters. His mum was amazed to discover that one of these “friends” turned out to be a real person, their neighbour Niko who Aleks had actually met in the yard.
For a while, Bidzo would accompany them on the school run. Aleks would politely open the car door for him, so he could get into the back seat first. Aleks then talked to Bidzo non-stop, all the way there, until they went through the school gate together. One time, Aleks’ mum was freaked out because she’d accidentally left the car unlocked. “Don’t worry Mum, it’s OK, Bidzo is sitting in there,” Aleks assured her. It turned out that the invisible Bidzo was the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, which made everybody laugh a lot. That is what being around Aleks is like, he invites you into his imaginary world.
He has enjoyed some work experience. He used to help out in his brother’s bar and sometimes he goes to his mum’s gift shop where he has mastered the art of wrapping up the most popular items, though they are just little jobs really. Aleks dreams about running his own food business, imagining himself managing a kebab shop or bakery.
He adores his older brothers. Every morning he rushes into their room to hug them all. I think that the ritual and warmth Aleks gives them at the beginning of each day is very important for them all.
Photographer: Levan Kherkheulidze
Writer: Archil Kikodze
Project was produced within the framework of the Children Are Not Born with Prejudices project run by the Glada Hudik Theatre in Georgia with the support of the Swedish Institute.