Vazifa Guliyeva, 46, lives in Garachinar, one of the small villages in the Goranboy region of Azerbaijan.
According to Vazifa, in the fall of 2020, during the 44-day war, most of the residents left the village and moved to safer places. There was practically no one left here, except for Vazifa and her husband.
“To be honest, if I had my way, I would leave too. It was very scary. Every minute a shell would fall. But my husband did not want to leave. He said that if we were destined to die, then death would find us anywhere and if it is not meant to be, then nothing would happen to us here either. Well, on the other hand, my son fought, and all my thoughts were about him.
During the war, even while being left alone in the village, they did not change their daily way of life:
“Every morning, when I woke up, I milked the cows, took care of the cattle, as in peacetime. I took care of chickens - not only my own, but also those of my neighbors. Most of those who left the village asked me to look after their houses and livestock. I fed them, but I could not save them all. More than ten of our cows died during the bombing”.
The war coincided with the harvest of autumn fruits. But no one in the village picked them, and all the fruits rotted on the trees.
“The war ended, everything calmed down, then we remembered the fruit trees, and found that the harvest was gone. The hazelnuts all crumbled and spoiled. We only managed to collect one basket of apples”, says Vazifa.
After the return of local residents, life also returned to its normal course. But what is striking is how their mood has changed. Vazifa says that before everyone built houses, equipped their yards, and tried to create better conditions for themselves. And now everyone seems to be waiting for something.
“We ourselves are renovating the house so that we can get good money after selling it. God willing, we will sell it and move to Kalbajar. And there we will need money to get settled. Most of the people here are immigrants. Everyone is waiting for the day when they can return to their native lands.”
The taxi driver taking us back to Baku turned out to be a refugee from Armenia. He does not hope to return to where he was born. He plans to live for the rest of his life in Garachinar, and is full of hope for the future of this village.
“After the liberated territories are cleared of mines, they will be equipped. Sugovushan will turn into a tourist paradise. The scenery is beautiful there. Hotels and restaurants will be built there. Local and foreign tourists will flock and they will all pass through Garachinar. And this means that the village will develop. People will be able to sell their products to hotels and restaurants. Tourists passing through the village will also buy local produce. I think we have a lot of good things ahead of us”.