This is the true story of a Puertorican who joined the Peace Corps in June 2006. This blog chronicles my misadventures in the Country of Georgia and in NO way represents the Peace Corps, its mission or its views. It is my personal blog!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Raktebah Gorshi? (What's going on in Gori)

(Super belated post...shoulda been up last month)

Light snow now tops the mountains surrounding Gori. Each morning I anxiously look out the window to see the how far down its crept. I'm not looking forward to the day when it's at street-level. At least I'm comforted by the fact that we had an actual autumn season which lasted about a month versus a week like last year.

A few weeks ago, I was able to go to my first host family's grape harvest. Each family in Georgia has their own vineyard with several different types of grapes. Then in the fall the grapes are harvested and huge celebrations take place. The harvest took four days to complete. It's hard work! Crates upon crates upon crates were filled with grapes. Then off to the presser, which can either be done by stomping on them or using a grape presser to squeeze the juice out. The result is the most delicious grape juice ever. After that, they start the wine preparation. Once the harvest is finally done, a huge supra takes place. And since harvest time occurs roughly at the same time, "supra season" lasts for weeks.
But alas, life is not all about matter how sweet they are.

The school year started in October and things have been very busy. A few exciting things have happened in school:

1. The grant proposal I wrote over the summer was approved and we are anxiously awaiting the new furniture for our English Cabinet (English resource room). The EC has been a great addition to our school. Dare I call it the social center...because it really is. Everyday the EC is full of teachers and students who are checking out books, practicing their English and attending club meetings.

2. We held our first Halloween party. Last year, I taught the kids about Halloween and our traditions...haunted house...carved pumpkins....fake blood..."guts" (pasta in a bowl). There's no similar Georgian holiday so needless to say the kids loved the idea. This year, I was approached by several students who wanted to do an American style Halloween Party. So we spent a few weeks putting it together and it turned out to be a big hit. It was a high school party for 8-11th formers. It was held on a spooky Sunday night in the school gym. We spent all weekend decorating it. Black drapes over the windows, candles and jack-o-lanterns, stuffed dummies, "Be afraid...death is coming for you" posters, etc. Everyone came in costume. There was a lot of creativity involved because we didn't have the luxury of going to the nearest Party City to buy them.

We had an opening dance sequence to MJ's "Thriller." After the haunted house there were lots of games and competitions. Teams were scored on the scariest team name, best scary story (my favorite part), dance-off, "pin the nose on the witch" game, and lastly a costume contest. Then the room turned into a huge disco as the faculty and invited guests were whisked away to a supra upstairs that included a pink and green Spiderman cake. Everyone had a great time at the party and the school director said he'd have it again next year. My legacy in Gori has been cemented.

3. Peace Corps Director Tschetter visited Georgia for a few days as part of his Caucasus trip. I was fortunate enough to be one of the few volunteers he visited. He along with several other PC visitors visited my school. I had members from my English club put together a presentation baptized "Georgia 101." The students talked about Georgia's history, culture, traditions, famous people and places. The students also talked about their community involvement in different clubs and organizations and then had a Q&A session. They designed posters and other souvenirs for them. The school presented each guest with student-made handicrafts. Afterwards, Nona and I showed them the EC and spoke about our work and accomplishments. All that followed 15min photo-op before our visitors left to visit my sitemates. Everything went smoothly and my students were all a little star-struck. We were really honored by their visit, especially since we were the only school they visited while in Georgia.

It's been an eventful couple of months and now that I've started my second school year, I can't help thinking about this time next year. There'll be no more PC. But beyond that I have no knowledge of where I'll be or what I'll be doing. I think that I have more ???'s about my future now than when I did before starting PC. My experience here was supposed to help me focus on what I wanted to do in life...oh well.

Here's a quick blurb about a project fellow PCVs have been working on. It's the official PC Georgia Podcast. Who knew PC could be so high tech eh? It's a monthly, 30-minute podcast about Georgia. The first episode of Sakartvelo: Stories of Peace Corps Life in Georgia has been posted on the web.

You can check out the blog website at:
It's also available on iTunes by searching at the iTunes Store or through this link.
Till next time dear readers. Thanks for all your support and emails. I look forward to seeing you all in the not too distant future!