Updates on my Georgian family, school, and life:
Before I left I talked to my sister Nino about my living situation. I explained to her that I feel like I don't have enough space, and I am not sleeping well on their dining room couch. I felt a little awkward expressing these feelings because Nino and her family have been SO kind to me. She totally understood what I was getting at and told me she would show me her family's third home. Oh yes, my family not only has one, or two, but THREE homes. Its kind of crazy. So we grabbed a flashlight and walked to another stairwell of our apartment building and walked to the top floor and there was my family's third home. Its a cute little apartment, but there is no running water and it was freezing cold. Not exactly the get away I was looking for. She said I could stay there if I wanted to since their second house is a bit of a walk. I told her that I would still like to try sleeping in the second house since I can actually have running water and a bed. Two things I have found are kind of essential to me living in Georgia. Its about a 30 minute walk to my school, but I think it might be worth it to just have a little privacy and an actual bed. So we will see how that goes once I get back!
School has been going really great! The day before I left all the teachers in my school pulled me into the teacher's lounge and presented me with a bottle of Georgian wine in a beautiful pottery type bottle and a ring for my sister! I was so taken back by their generosity and kindness. They were all so excited for me, and they kept saying "You need to bring back photos!!"
Before I left I also went to visit my friends in the Samtredia government building. I love sitting in on their English lessons. They are so passionate and excited to learn English. It has definitely motivated me to start working on my Georgian harder. There was a grant proposal sitting on Sopho's desk and I started looking at it. I told her that I would love to help her with grants and getting them money for projects for the community. She got so excited!! We had some communication problems like I could not find the Georgian word for deadline. So we decided to talk the next day with Nana at school.
The next day at school I went through the grant application with Nana and Sopho explaining each part. It was really frustrating at times to speak through Nana, trying to figure out what Sopho wanted to do with the grant money. I kept thinking to myself "Ahh, if I could speak Georgian this could be so easy!" The application has to been written in either English or Czech since its through the money is coming through the Czech government. I wish I could of done more to help them, but since I was leaving to catch a train to Tbilisi I couldn't stay too long. I'm looking forward to going back and getting more involved with grant writing and fundraising for the community. Nana talked to me about how the former peace corps fundraised money in order to redo the English room. I would love to find a way to raise some funds for my school. Its over 100 years old and is located on the other side of the train tracks away from the center part of the town. It does not receive the funding that a lot of the other schools in Samtredia receive. Most of my children's parents work in factories, sell products in the bazaar, or are simply out of work. Some of them have even gone abroad to Italy or Spain to find work since there is nothing for them in Georgia.
A hallway in my school
Girls walking to class
The outside of School 12
Its funny how things work out sometimes. I came to Georgia to make a difference and to help a community and I have definitely found this here at my school and in Samtredia. It is completely fitting that I am working at the school in Samtredia that needs the most help and love. I am excited to think of creative ways to help my school, my children, and the community of Samtredia.
Some very old posters hanging on the walls
My refurbished English room
Well, I'm off to spend some time with my American Bebia, Mom-Mom. She is 93 and half and so excited to have me home for a week. I will do an update on my week in the States, after the wedding since I have an 11 hour layover in Munich!