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!


11 responses to “A Walk through the village

  1. Great pics, Carl. Can you organize clearing off a space for a soccer field, or is there one in the village already? Those kids look capable of doing a lot of fun work like that! Many of them look like athletes in waiting–for a good coach and opportunities. Love, Dad

    • There is a football field at the school, and a very capable young man who is responsible for physical education. I see the boys playing football nearly every day during their breaks, or during physical education periods. I would love to participate, but I’m not much of a football player, really. It’s probably true that there are not enough soccer balls for playing at home, but there’s plenty of space to have pick-up games just about anywhere (if you don’t mind the landmines left by cows, dogs, geese, goats, horses, donkeys, ducks turkeys and chickens).

  2. Hey, Carl, Great pic’s and text. Really good job you’re doing.
    Those kids look like they need a soccer ball. Do they play any games? What are they?
    I left a message on Facebook (the “chat” place) about a website showing U.S., aid to Georgia; I suggest you spend some time studying it. It looks very interesting.
    Finally, have you done any guitar playing? I’ll bet the kids would love it.


    • I’ve taken my guitar to school for the last 3 days, and have already begun teaching “Here comes the Sun” to a few of the older grades. They are fascinated by the guitar, and I’ve really enjoyed playing in front of them. It’s not something I’m used to. And it’s a little nerve-racking, especially since I’ve gotten into the habit of closing my eyes while I sing and play. I would rather make eye contact, but I need to practice more. I also need a much bigger repertoire.

      The school music teacher and director took me into the music room today, and we tried to play a few tunes together. I think Jerry Garcia would’ve absolutely LOVED some of these Georgian melodies…some of the melodies sound Persian-influenced to me. I wish their piano was in tune, and I wish I had a guitar amplifier…so many things are needed at the school. Heat and lights would be a good start!

  3. Great pix. Love the cow! (ox?) and Deyda’s youngest son.
    I think your instincts are probably right about going off with gangs to barns to drink homemade vodka…

  4. Они весёлые ребята 🙂 Это отличная прогулка! И много замечательных фотографий!

  5. Carl, you are so lucky. And you are looking good, too. The kids seem enthralled, motivated. I like Zaza.
    Your pictures are Great. Keep them coming.

  6. And I just knew that the ‘ABC Song’ would be popular… Did you bring the guitar?
    Did you ever try the tongue-position lesson on “Th” vs. “S”?

  7. ABCs? You’ll have to start singing songs from Sesame Street. “Letter B” is my favorite (take off on Beatles Let It Be). AWESOME PICS! Keep Sharing.

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