Winters are tough

Winters are tough in Georgia, February sucked, and March isn’t any better.

I think it’s fair to say that I’m having a difficult time getting through the winter. For nearly the entire month of February the temperature rarely (if ever) got above freezing, so any snow that fell would remain on the ground, ice over and freeze solid, except for the small amounts that are removed from road traffic and normal evaporation on sunny days.

So how does this translate to normal daily life in a Georgian village? No running water for a month. Diana (my host mother) has made the effort to take me into Gori for the past few weeks (once a week) so that I can take a shower at a bath house. It’s not a very agreeable solution really, but it’s better than nothing. It can take 3 or more hours to accomplish this trip, and the facilities are minimal. The stalls are private at least, but they’re very small, and the entire floor becomes wet during the shower, so it’s not really possible to dry off my feet when I’m done. The stall is heated only by the hot water which flows plentifully. In fact, it’s really quite enjoyable when you’re standing under the water because there’s an enormous amount of water pressure and it’s quite hot if I turn off all the cold water (and I do). I think it costs 5 lari for a shower (about $2.00), but I’m not sure because the Gogidze’s insist on paying for the visit.

I honestly believe their children have not had a shower for a month, but they do manage to wash their hair (I’ll explain below). And I also believe the Gogidze’s would not make a trip to the Gori bath house if they didn’t have a foreign guest. I’ve come to believe that typical American hygiene seems more like an unnecessary inconvenience to villagers in Georgia. These people are tough!

During the week, it is possible to heat water on the wood-burning stove in the kitchen. I can ask to use some hot water to shave and Diana has volunteered a few times to pour water over my head so that I can wash my hair during the week. I believe she’s helped me 5 or 6 times to wash my hair and shave. She also helps her children wash up in the same manner. It’s really the only solution.

About 4 weeks ago I developed a really large acne cist on my forehead, probably because of the ongoing stress of this ordeal, and lack of daily washing. I was “blessed” with terrible skin, so it’s really no big surprise, but this sucker became especially large and painful after 2 or 3 days of watching it grow. Naturally, my host mother noticed it and became very concerned. She wanted me to go to the doctor, and I agreed. I was having some bad headaches, and thought maybe they could drain it quickly, just as I’ve had it done in America a few times in the past.

We went to the hospital, which is the normal starting point for my medical needs. This hospital was definitely built during soviet times and is falling apart. There are electrical wires nailed up on the walls and strung down the hallways, the floors are sometimes covered with some kind of imitation hardwood flooring that is more like paper, and is curling up on the edges and has been completely peeled off in large areas revealing rotted hardwood or crumbling concrete underneath. There is no central heating in this hospital. Doctors and nurses remain in private rooms and stay close to their electrical space heaters.

We spoke with the initial contact nurse and she checked my insurance card and passport, and gave us a slip of paper to take to a much more modern hospital on the other side of town for my appointment with a doctor. We took a taxi to the new hospital and it was a very nice facility with central heating and clean, white tile flooring. In fact, there was one woman who constantly cleaned this floor in the entryway. I don’t believe she stopped cleaning the floor for a minute, and it remained spotless.

Diana seemed to know that we needed to go down a hallway and into a certain room where a few doctors and nurses were sitting. There were plenty of patients in the hallway, so I’m still not sure how we were able to circumvent the queue and get attention immediately. The doctor took a look at my forehead, but didn’t speak any English. He was a young man, about mid-thirties, with balding head and handsome face. I was told that he was Diana’s cousin (Georgians OFTEN exaggerate their relationship status), so I guess this is how we were able to see him so quickly. He took out his cell phone and called another doctor who spoke some English. The English-speaking doctor arrived in about 2 minutes, also in his mid-thirties. He asked if I would be interested in a “short procedure” that would take a few minutes with “no pain”. This sounded just like the kind of procedure I’ve had in the states, so I agreed.

I was immediately ushered into the next room and asked to lie down on a surgical table. The entire room and its equipment looked very modern. I tried to relax. I’m not good with pain, and I hate going to the hospital for anything. The doctor could see that I was nervous and asked me where I was from. I said, “California”, to which he replied in Georgian “it’s good”. The procedure was quite painful really, because he used a long needle to inject something (it certainly wasn’t Novocain or anything similar because I felt everything afterwards), and then asked his assistant for a knife (I happen to be quite aware of the Georgian word for “knife”). This is when I knew it was going to be a lot different than what I was accustomed to at a dermatologist’s office in America. Clearly, this doctor was a surgeon, not a dermatologist, but honestly, I was only thinking about the sharp thing hovering over my head. After the longest 2 or 3 minutes of my life, the doctor put in a few stitches and bandaged my forehead. He asked me to come back the next day at 10 o’clock so he could remove the stitches.

The stitches are out now, and it’s been about 3 weeks since the “short procedure”. I’m not happy about the result because he didn’t really drain the thing, and there’s a nice little scar, but I’m not worried about it anymore. I have much worse scars on my face as it is already. I can call it my Georgian tattoo.

I’ve also been fighting a cold, cough (constant) and temperature (off and on) for about 3 weeks, and falling asleep has been difficult. My room is very cold, so I usually spend my time completely under the covers until the middle of the night. The cold air is really rough on my throat, so it’s not helping matters. Diana has since offered that I sleep on the fold out couch in the common room (with a heater), and this is a very welcome change. I can turn off the heater before I go to sleep, and the room remains much warmer than my bedroom.

I went to a party with my oldest host sister, Teona (my forehead bandaged, wearing a hat because I haven’t had a shower or washed my hair for 4 days). The party-goers are all Teona’s classmates. It was the second night in a row for them, which is very common in Georgia. Many parties can last long into the night, and resume the following afternoon or evening. I can safely assume everyone in the room is 17 or 18 years old. Maybe a few of them were younger, I don’t know. Teona invited me to the first party, and I declined because there was a birthday party for another adult family friend!

The second night I was invited again and Teona seemed genuinely eager for me to go this time. It became clear that some of the kids wanted me to take pictures, and I was happy to do it. So I packed my gear and walked two blocks to Sopo’s home (I think it’s safe to say that “Sopo” can be translated to “Sophia” in English). Sopo is 17, and is quite possibly the most beautiful girl in the village. I’ve already shared a few pictures of Sopo on Facebook, taken during one of the school excursions. Before we got to her house, Teona called her on her cell to say that we were on our way, and Sopo actually walked out to meet us halfway (on a very chilly evening). She doesn’t speak any English, and my Georgian (although getting better every day) is still sadly lacking in conversational skills. She beamed her smile at me and we exchanged Georgian pleasantries. After that, we had nothing but smiles to offer one another.

We walked up her home’s crumbling staircase and entered the upper floor where there was already a familiar festive table set for 20 people, and several of the teenagers were already huddled around the only space heater in the room…a very cold room. After about 10 minutes Levani shows up, who I can safely describe as the alpha dog of their social circle. I have good reason to believe that Levani and Teona are a couple, which in Georgian villages can be a very tricky affair, since this status seems to automatically imply that marriage is soon to follow. I have never seen them exchange public displays of affection (this is considered shameful), but they will occasionally touch or look at each other in a way that can only mean they have spent a lot of time talking in private.

Levani stands at the head of the table and speaks with boldness and authority that everyone should take a seat so that the celebration can begin. All of the boys sit at one end of the table, and all of the girls at another, although it’s a bit lopsided as there are 10 girls and 5 boys. I am the only adult, and I am asked to change my seat so that I am sitting between Levani and Teona. None of this seems unusual to me. I just thought it was distinctively Georgian (specifically Georgian village life—more on that later) to witness a group of young people at a suprah completely separated by gender because it was a traditional sit-down eating and drinking occasion. Later in the evening there was no separation between genders although I never saw any male-female combination share a toast of wine with locking arms (see photos), a very traditional way to show love and friendship at a suprah.

After everyone was finishing with the food I decided to get out my camera and start taking pictures. At this point the room seemed to erupt with enthusiasm, and everyone started dancing, or posing in groups, barking orders at me to take their picture. Some of the boys were especially rude about it, but it didn’t really bother me because honestly I didn’t understand any of their demands in Georgian language, and it just made me laugh, which seemed to irritate some of them a little bit. On the whole it was a very positive experience, and everyone was having a great time, including myself.

So now it’s March 13, and there’s a lot of snow on the ground. I like snow…in December. When March comes, I’m ready for spring, but it seems clear that I’ll have to wait for April. Pipes are still frozen, and we’re all pretty sick of winter. And I’ve been suffering another relapse of cold and fever this past weekend, and have missed a few days of school.

I’m still enjoying my job as a teacher, and I believe I could do this kind of work for a living, but the money here just doesn’t pay the bills, and that’s not much! The photography business is also flopping, mainly because I can’t speak the language, and I don’t have anyone around me to help me with this problem. I still believe there are opportunities, but I can’t speak for myself. I’ve been asking for a Kartuli teacher since October, and they’re all busy. Everyone says I need to be living in Tbilisi if I want to be a photographer, and this seems to be inescapable. Relocation is possible, so it’s something I’m considering for next semester. On the other hand, spring weather brings a lot of weddings, and I’m hopeful that I can get some work. Learning the language is clearly the biggest obstacle to any kind of business success, and even though I’m learning slowly, there is progress, and summer holidays will open up schedules for all the private teachers.

The best news is that I’m not spending any money except for a few taxi rides, bus fares, and a few afternoons spent inside one of two different restaurants in Gori with free Wi-Fi. My birthday will be celebrated Georgian style, at a local restaurant with 16 guests, live music and a sparkler cake. I’ve promised myself not to take a lot of pictures on my birthday, but there will be plenty of video, I’m sure, so stay tuned.


Why don’t we do it in the road? Because you’ll get killed!

After a wonderful 3 week vacation in California, I’m back in Georgia with my host family, and becoming very accustomed to the climate.

Back in November, my host mother would always say that January and February were going to be warm, and I figured she was making a joke, but it turns out her predictions were somewhat accurate. We’ve all enjoyed some sunny and warmer temperatures during the day since I’ve come back, and I can say without any doubt that I’ve lived in colder climates than Georgia. More recently the weather has turned very cold, and we’ve been without water for several days now. I think it’s time to take some pictures of their water tank and plumbing, and ask my Dad and Mr. Kunhardt to take a look, maybe brainstorm a solution that wouldn’t require thousands of Lari.

So I had a wonderful Christmas in Northern California, and then had the audacity to enjoy another Christmas in Georgia. I could get used to this! If the reader is unaware, most of Central Asia, Russia, and Eastern Europe (including Georgia) celebrate Christmas on January 7. December 25 is just another day. Most of the gift exchanges, if there are any, occur on New Year’s Eve.  And really there isn’t much “celebrating” on January 7. My host family never goes to church, and Christmas was no exception, although I’ve heard from one of the locals that she stood in church for several hours as part of her commitment to worship on Christmas. Maybe I just didn’t understand her correctly, but it sounds a lot different from the protestant Christmas Eve services I used to enjoy; plenty of Christmas Carols and a short homily, then everyone went home with a smile. Traditions are much different on this side of the world, but the holidays are still a lot of fun. There were no celebrations on January 6th or 7th, but there have been so many other parties, you get the idea that Christmas is intended to be a day of REST!

On New Year’s Eve we had a small party and set off some fireworks. It wasn’t as loud and crazy as the New Year’s Eve I witnessed in Chisinau (2007), but there were still lots of rockets set off around the village. The youngest member of my host family (Giorgi, 7) was given the honor of holding a long, cardboard rocket launcher and it sounded like a shotgun when the rockets launched out of it. It was about 1 meter long (about the size of a large roll of holiday wrapping paper) and it set off about 8 rockets (I wasn’t counting) like you would expect from an old-fashioned roman candle, but these were exploding rockets! Sorry, no pictures. I was trying to enjoy myself.

Since January 7, I’ve been to a lot of parties! There’s a celebration for “old new year” and “epiphany” which I guess is supposed to honor the baptism of Christ, although my host family called it “Godmother’s day”. I’ve also been to a few birthday parties, which are another good excuse for a suprah (if you’re older), or a big party at a restaurant (if you’re a kid). I suppose the most noticeable tradition at Georgian birthday parties is the sparkler cake. I haven’t seen these used anywhere else, but I’m not the world traveler I’d like to be, so maybe it’s not really a Georgian thing. Anyway, it’s pretty spectacular!

Lighting the sparklers

The baby looks intrigued, yes?

Pay no attention to the doll on the couch 😉

Okay HURRY, these things don't last forever!

He looks happy 🙂

15th Birthday for Tsiriko at a very popular restaurant in Gori

I’ve made a few more friends among the locals while trying to promote a photography business. I can tell there is a lot of excitement for a photo studio, but I can’t find a room for rent that’s big enough in Gori, or that doesn’t cost less than $500 a month. So I’m not pushing forward with that idea yet. If I can get any business in the spring and summer, then maybe next winter I can afford a studio, or maybe I’ll get lucky and find a large enough room with heat, good fuses, a changing room, western toilet, and a small front office for less than $300 a month. I’m not asking for a miracle, right? <cough, cough>

I’ve been taking walks nearly every day. I guess it’s about 4 or 5 km, but I don’t have a car to measure the distance. It’s a long way. I’m walking along the only paved road in the village, and at its narrowest point it’s usually enough room for two cars to pass each other. If a truck or a bus is on the road, then someone needs to slow down and pull off the road. Georgian drivers don’t like to slow down, and this includes going into a blind “S” curve!  Auto accidents are very common in Georgia, and fatalities are supposedly very high (I don’t have any statistics). It’s really no wonder TLG doesn’t allow volunteers to own, rent or otherwise DRIVE a car in Georgia (it’s in the contract). So going for a walk in my village is a stark reminder that Georgian drivers are a bit rude and impatient when it comes to sharing the road with anyone, especially pedestrians. The idea that a pedestrian has the right of way is a completely foreign idea (pun intended). It’s a bit aggravating to deal with Georgian drivers because it seems like half of them will go OUT OF THEIR WAY to scare you off the road, even though there is plenty of room for them to pass around you, they’ll honk their horn and aim their car directly at you (as they’re coming towards you from the opposite direction). And I also get the feeling the driver is laughing about it. So I’ve learned not to fight it…I just step off the road, in the mud and cow pies, and let the cars pass.  It’s really hard to understand how a country that embraces family values, friendship and hospitality towards their guests still has so much to learn about sharing the road with pedestrians (and there are many pedestrians in the villages and cities).

So let’s review the things I don’t like about Georgia. At this point there are only 3 things I’ve come to really dislike, but nothing is all that bad—I’ve learned to accept:

1)      Slow, expensive internet

2)      Georgian drivers

3)      Frozen water pipes in the winter

School started today, but my co-teacher is in London, or something. And I’m not supposed to teach classes without a Georgian Co-teacher, so I’m enjoying a longer holiday break. My health is good, and I’m REALLY looking forward to warmer weather in April! Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to go skiing at one of the resorts in February. I keep reminding one of my friends that he wants to go! 😉

Shower in a Refrigerator?

Hot water is a good thing! It’s especially good after a few days of waiting for the water supply to thaw and I’m blessed with the opportunity to take a quick shower. It’s always a “quick shower” because the temperature in the bathroom is usually between 34 and 40 degrees (I’ve given up trying to force my readers to learn metric). I can’t depend on a shower opportunity in the morning because the pipes freeze overnight.  I can’t really schedule my time for a shower. When the opportunity presents itself (running water and electricity at the same time), I take it! I walk in to the bathroom and exhale a thick, steamy breath. I begin with the fastest shave known to man, and then the exciting part: hot water shower in a refrigerator! And then use the shared family towel to dry off…quickly! Throw on a dry robe and mop up the floor.

It’s really not so bad! When I’m done, I walk back into the house, and a warm living room. It’s a great feeling! But really, don’t try this at home.

What we have here…

…is a failure to communicate. Language…barrier… ugh!

In the time I’ve neglected to write a new blog entry I’ve been on two “excursions” (more commonly referred to as “field trips” in America), a funeral, a wedding reception (I guess I wasn’t invited to the ceremony), 4 or 5 Supras, an overnight visit from two fellow American TLG volunteers, more than a few snow days, and most recently, what can only be described as an “engagement party”. There are some really good stories behind all of these events, so I’m a lot more behind on my blog entries than I care to admit. There’s just no way to fill in the blanks now, so I’ll just pretend I’m up to date and write about whatever hits me.

The excursions were lots of fun, but also frustrating because I’m still hampered by a lack of language skills, or a reliable translator. My first excursion took place on October 19, and included a lot of teenagers that I don’t have the opportunity to teach in class. In the days leading up to this excursion I was under the impression that it would be a group of first graders and their mothers. But it turned out I was getting mixed messages.

There were two planned excursions, and the first would be with a group of older students and teachers. We stopped at a few churches, a monastery, and the birthplace and museum for Georgia’s beloved poet, Vazha Pshavela. This is a very popular destination for school excursions. The birthplace home is very picturesque, but I have to wonder if it’s really authentic. I suppose there’s no good reason to think it’s a fake, but the structure is in very good shape, all things considered. I managed to get a lot of pictures of the students and faculty on the excursion. The biggest disappointment on this trip is the lack of communication.

The second excursion with the first graders took place the following week. We went to a village west of Zeghduleti and visited a museum and schoolhouse of a famous Georgian educator and author. Unfortunately, I really don’t have any idea of his name, or any details about his accomplishments because the tour was only in Georgian language, and there was no one to translate.

The best part of this trip was a visit to Uplistsiche, an ancient stone-hewn city near Gori. The guide took a few extra minutes to explain a few things in broken English, but it was difficult to understand. It’s a beautiful view from the top of the hill, and it was a beautiful sunny day. I managed to get a lot of pictures and posted them to Facebook. It was a wonderful day, and I wish there were more of these trips, but I guess it’s really my own responsibility to go exploring through Georgia, although I didn’t make a lot of lasting friendships at the TLG orientation, so I’d be venturing on my own—a somewhat intimidating scenario.

I guess it’s fair to say that I’m starting to get frustrated with the language problem. And as a result I’ve been studying a lot harder. It’s easy to memorize numbers, colors, a few adjectives and lots of useful nouns and phrases, but real communication is exceedingly difficult, and frustrating. I’m a lot more useful in class now that I can follow a pattern of useful phrases like “listen”, “watch me”, “show me your homework”, “come to the blackboard”, “sit down”, “stand up”, “calm down”, etc., etc.  It’s also important for me to know all the Georgian vocabulary that they are expected to learn in English, but this is the easy part.

I go to school every day and sit among a group of older women and a few men, and listen to their emotionally-charged conversations and wonder what they’re talking about. It’s really easy to feel alone in a crowd. I have enough reasons to believe they are happy, perhaps even proud to have me on staff, but I just don’t feel like I’m part of the team.  There are so many ways I’d like to contribute and offer my time and talents, but I can’t communicate! I think all of my feelings will change if I can learn the language better. There have been so many times I’ve wanted to talk to my host parents about my life, and about politics, and how I’m feeling every day, but it’s not possible yet. It seems pretty clear that they don’t have a huge desire to learn English, and I guess I don’t really blame them. There’s very little use for it here, except to become an English teacher, or government employee. On the other hand, if I learn Qartuli I’ll be a lot more useful, and have a lot more opportunities for friendship and business in Georgia.

Yes, I’m starting to feel like I actually want to LIVE here, although my reasons are a lot different than most other TLG volunteers who are much younger, and are always mentioning their numerous marriage proposals. I simply don’t have that problem (for obvious reasons). I feel a genuine respect coming from my family, my co-workers and community, and it’s something I don’t want to leave behind for a lousy job in the states without benefits or a decent wage. The country I grew up in has changed too much, and I no longer want to be a part of it. Maybe my feelings will change, and I don’t want to resist, but that’s how I feel today.

I’m coming back to America for Christmas, and I’m looking forward to seeing my family! I’ve been feeling very stifled to write about my true feelings on a public blog, and I cherish the opportunity to sit down with my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law, and really talk about what’s going on in my heart. Hopefully I’ll get to spend 10 warm days in Los Angeles, and then Christmas in San Francisco. It will be a wonderful vacation, but I honestly can’t wait to return to my family and friends in Georgia for New Year’s Eve!

More scenes from the village

More pictures from a recent walk around the hood.

I mentioned this classroom display (below) in a previous entry, and I wanted to share it here. I’m feeling very appreciated here. I’m not used to it! I expect some people are skeptical of my motives. I mean, really, why the hell would anyone my age want to teach English in a developing country? I’m not really sure I can answer that question, but I’ve found a new appreciation for life, and the things that really matter.


And now for some pictures of school staff members. There are quite a few missing here, but I’ll probably get them all, eventually.

My host mother, Diana, is also a teacher at the school. She's in the front row, second from the right (wearing black). The huge hand bell is used to signal the end of periods when the electricity goes out.

School principal ("Director")

A Walk through the village

Walk through the village

I’ve been feeling a little guarded about the idea, but today I managed to raise my nerve enough to take a walk through the village. I think it’s because I had a really good day at school.

My co-teacher (Teo) thought it was an excellent idea to teach the old ABC song to all the classes, and it was a big hit. I was surprised because Monday includes classes with 4th, 5th and 6th graders. I thought the older kids would just clam up and roll their eyes, but they did their best to sing along, and honestly I think it will help them learn the alphabet a lot faster if we sing it every day for a week or so.

There was also a special guest from Moscow today. Her name is Liza (pronounced “leeza”), and she spoke very good English for a girl who is probably 11 or 12.

Liza from Moscow

Liza from Moscow

Her mother is in the village to help with some kind of teacher’s conference, so Liza is visiting the school classrooms for a few weeks. I really liked her because she spoke English better than anyone I’ve met in the last 7 days! She walked up to me directly and said, “I really want to speak English with you, but I don’t know what to say.” My heart melted to the floor! I just asked her if she liked Georgia, and her response was surprising. She said she liked it more than Russia, which I find a little hard to believe, but she seemed sincere. I don’t want to get into politics, but it really seems that the whole Russia\Georgia conflict is ridiculous, and the blame can be placed squarely on politicians, and the very rich. I’ve asked many Russians who I know from social web sites for their opinions on the subject of Georgia. I’ll ask them “Why does Russia hate Georgia, and why does Georgia hate Russia?” And their response seldom strays from something like, “I have no idea!” But I don’t want to take this direction now. I just want to say that I really liked this little girl because she was so precocious and her personality so delightful! I am quite sure the people of Georgia have understandable reasons to hate Putin and the oligarchy surrounding him, but very few reasons to hate the average Russian. It seems to me the truth is that the average Russian has absolutely no reason to dislike an independent Georgia. But again, I really don’t understand all the angles yet.

I’m going to really enjoy Mondays because it’s all the older kids, 3 periods in a row. It’s almost like I get to spend time with my niece Aru (also in the 6th grade), and I’m missing her very much!

I walked home from school at 1 O’clock with Teona (I think she came to school so I wouldn’t have to walk alone). She’s such a good kid, but I’m feeling guilty about taking up her time for something so unnecessary.

followed me home from school, Nino and Gwansa

I was hanging around the house for an hour or so, and this is when I decided it was time to explore the village.  I picked up my camera and went for a walk. I went a few different directions looking for anything worthy of a picture. The smell of manure is everywhere, and you really have to watch where you’re stepping every moment.

I came across a small group of boys who recognized me from school.

It took me about 20 minutes to run into these kids, and after that, I was never alone for the next 90 minutes.



Avto and Nika

The man's name is Malhazy

Homeboys in the hood! Rowena, Otari, Malhazy, Zaza

Best puppy picture ever

They kept introducing me to adults and asked me to take pictures of everything. I found an old cemetery, and the village church (I guess). Some of the gravestones look really old!


If you think the light around the steeple is a happy accident, then you don't know me very well. 😉

Georgian convoy!

I kept running into groups of older men, and they all wanted to pull me away to drink! One of them was very insistent, but I resisted as vehemently as I could, without causing an international incident! I felt lucky to get away with my life! (I’m joking here, of course, but one gentleman was ignoring my Ara!–“no”)

A large group of boys are still with me, and the group is growing. We kept walking, stopping to say hello to anyone standing around. I guess we were making a lot of noise because people were starting to come out of their homes to say “gamarjobat” (hello).

One of my 6th grade students (her name is “Nino”) heard the noise and came out of her home to follow along.  She’s really smart, does all her homework, and lights up like a sparkler when she smiles.

Nino, 6th grade student

We ran into another group of kids hanging out on a village corner, and they all recognized me, but I had not been introduced to any of them. Everyone was super friendly and wanted pictures so what else could I do? It’s not like they wanted to whisk me away to some private barn to drink homemade vodka!


Very COOL Georgian teenagers

It was a challenge to get them to stop laughing!

I held my breath and gave my camera to one of the girls for this shot

Sign language "G" for Georgia

Mother and her 3 children

More later!

Walk to school

Walk to school

It’s really not a bad walk to school. Most of the route is paved, although it is the only paved road in the village and it goes down the center. Here are a few shots of what you’d see on the way to school, and some shots of the school itself.

This is the entrance to the village school

This is the main school building, just behind the larger wing you can see from the entrance. The larger wing is a multi-purpose room that is used for sports and events, but it's falling apart!

Sitting on a table at the back of a classroom

4th Grade student

4th Grade students

The school has no heat, and no lighting. They rely on daylight and layers of clothing

Typical Brown Board in classrooms

4th Grade Student

4th grade student

4th grade student

4th grade student

4th grade student

4th grade student

4th grade student

4th grade student

Tea, my Co-teacher

5th Grade student

That’s all for this post. I have more to post tonight…with text.