I would like to first mention that there are fireworks being shot off in the rain tonight. I have no idea why, but it certain makes you wonder about cultural differences, doesn’t it?
Poti is an odd city. It lacks much of the juxtaposition that Tbilisi had. There is construction going on in a few areas. However, most of the city looks like the stereotype of a post-soviet city. There are buildings in ruins everywhere. Stray dogs run rampant. There are cows just hanging out on the street corners next to the chickens. Through all of this you begin to see the certain charm that such a city holds. You can easily walk down to the Black sea from my house. There is a long trail that runs along the port where you can find people biking or walking. Every house has fruit trees and grapes growing in their yards. The architecture is very unique. The city is begining to grow. Businesses are moving in. This means the standard of living is much greater here than in the villages.
I’m very lucky to have the host family that I do. The mayor, Gucha, is very busy but kind. His wife, Nino, is amazing and a cardiologist. They both know a fair amount of English and are eager to practice. I haven’t picked up too much Georgian because they both want to become comfortable with English. Nino said she’d help me learn though. They have been very generous. My room is well furnished. I even get my own bathroom! They have two sons who are studying in Tbilisi at the University there. Some of the anticipated issues that were mentioned in training like lack of privacy or lack of luxuries have not been an issue for me.
School has been interesting. I work with four different teachers and have 25 lessons every week. One of the teachers has been working for 40 years. You can tell by her yelling at students and the books she prefers to work with. It’s this old book that just has a few boring texts to read and nothing conversation related. Thankfully, she can only use it with the sixth graders. I’m hoping to add a lot of games to that class. So many of students look like they are falling asleep in class. Ironically, this is the same teacher who was trying to correct my own pronunciation of words while I was reading today. No it wasn’t a “q” sound, it was the word mountain. I’m pretty sure I say that one correctly. lol We get a long fine otherwise, though. The students are eager but noisy in class. I could write a lot more about school, but I’ll leave that for another day.
I really want to make a small mention about driving in Georgia. IT’S TERRIFYING! To get to Poti, some men from the resource center picked me and the other Poti volunteer up in Tbilisi. We drove on only one road through the mountains. It was like being on a roller coaster. Imagine a two lane road winding through the mountains. Then add cars and trucks going over 140 km/hour. Cars pass each other all the time, including around corners and up hills. The only notice they give is the occasional honk. The cars are also driving three a breast for one lane. Oh, and add the occasional cow in the middle of the road. You have to be very brave to drive here and I give a lot of props to the man who got us here safely. Craziest part of living in Georgia so far!