Hi, what's your name? How are you? Fine thanks, goodbye! <-- This was what the English class' kids of the third grade are learning at the good ol' school! The counterpart I observed today is a great teacher! She's only been teaching for a short period of time, but her lessons today I observed had structure, used the book, contained a variety of activities, were contained by her excellent classroom management techniques, catered by her amazing explanations and etc. And by a short period of time, I mean this will be her 3rd or 4th year! It's incredible!
After the lesson, I got back out to the "stadium" and ran around the dirt path created from being over-tread by other children. I ran alone and for 30 minutes without stopping and with sprints in between! My ipod had completely died, and so with ten minutes charge I was in business! I'm sure there are many people out there who could have done better, but on my standards it was an in-country personal best! My legs are sore from running as you are reading this.
After the lesson but before the running, I had a meeting with my director. I told her that I needed to find Russian and Georgian tutors, and she got the ball rolling! Apparently there is a teacher whose Georgian grammar is incredible and the Russian teacher from our school is very kind. Then I asked my director, with the help of one of my CPs, if she was on good terms with the directors of the other schools, and she said yes. Then, I asked her if it would be possible to meet with a few of them to talk about the possibilities and survey interest in applying for a volunteer, as applications for schools are out and due October 2. She then told me that there is going to be an all-directors meeting for the area soon, and I'm welcome to come if I'd like and talk with them there. I was thrilled!
Then post meeting with my director, another meeting date was established for our EAP (Emergency Action Plan) cluster to meet in Rustavi to discuss strategies, meet the police chief, and go out to lunch. I am still on cloud 9, and I realize this will sound strange, but I love meetings. Meetings give a sense of structure and progress!
Today was also my host brother Avto's birthday! My host mom yet again outdid herself with a fantastic banana and pomegranate seed cream birthday cake! Then after eating dinner and cake, the amazing Asmat called after I sent a text hinting of something exciting (director's meeting). We talked and because I cannot give too much information about Peace Corps without them being present, she will see what she can do in terms of possibly preparing me to be able to answer questions in the event they will arise. Just the possibility is exciting, as this would be a huge step towards change! I feel like it would also help unite the community as well. There are many cultural, ideological, relgious, and other differences amongst the people and yes, even the directors; but all can agree that having a volunteer in their school is a positive thing.
I have talked with my director also about the FLEX interest committee, for which she is also enthusiastic, and Asmat mentioned she will be having a meeting with American Councils of Georgia tomorrow, for which most likely promotional materials will be provided and then also she will email someone's contact information for possible tips on how to prime the students before the actual FLEX presentation in October.
I am so excited that things are moving along so quickly. I know this will not always be the case, but for the time being I am grateful. I feel like I am integrating well with my community, and it seems as though many, many positive things are to come. My stomach is feeling 100%, I am happy, all is well, and today is probably the highest point of my service in Georgia so far. I am so lucky to have such an amazing host family, director, school, community, and couldn't ask for better PC staff. God bless all of them!
Speaking of blessing, my host mom and host mom's brother's wife invited me to their village church on Saturday. Are you ready for a majorly horrible translation? I wanted to say I will be able to go if I will be free, but instead I said I will be able to go if I would not be too different. LOL I mean, both are true, but I would have preferred that the first intended meaning would have been communicated. The reaction was of concern, and they encouraged me in that we are all Christians in this room, and God does not discriminate against what kind of Christianity, so I should not be afraid or worried. Apparently, one of the pastors knows many languages, and some English, so if I need to speak with a man of the Lord, I should be able to do so. This was so kind and caring of them, even though I don't feel like I will take full opportunity of this generosity, just out of cultural difference, but nonetheless I appreciate it.
Also, as I have been observing almost every class, and every grade takes English at my school, I have met a solid majority of the students. As I was walking down the street after my run today, looking a hot mess, many students were acknowledging my presence. It's so good to feel appreciated in such a foreign place. All I have done so far is smile and speak what they may not understand, but it truly shows how far kindness can get you, as kindness knows no language barrier. I hope the other volunteers will open up their hearts to their communities as well, to be welcomed as the arms of people in Georgia are always open.
Ok, so enough of the sappiness. I love everyone, catch you later/tomorrow most likely!