''I love village life,'' Meri says, ''I always have. But today, everyone from our neighborhood has left. All three houses next door are locked.''
Meri was born in Bazaleti in 1935, in the house where she lives today. She has three sisters, three brothers and eleven nieces and nephews who have a total of twelve children!
She remembers singing with her local music ensemble as a child, and fondly recalls that Ilia Zakaidze1 who lived nearby in Dusheti taught them songs and took them around to competitions. ''I love Tushetian songs on the accordion,'' she says, ''but the songs of Zakaidze are my favorite!''
1Ilia Zakaidze (1924-2008) was one of the most famous Georgian singers of the 20th century. Today he is most well known for the 1977 recording of ''Chak’rulo,'' (alongside Rost’om Saginashvili), that travelled to the cosmos on the Voyager.