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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!