In the past week I have done the following things for the first time since arriving in Georgia more than seven months ago:
-Used an elliptical and weights
-Flushed toilet paper
-Taken a bath
-Went in a sauna
-Had a massage
Looking at that list, I would think I was back in the US. Actually, I’m still in Georgia and spent the past few days here for the Peace Corps Project Design and Management Conference (PDM). The three-day conference was for all G12 education volunteers and their counterparts to learn about designing a project for their school/community and how to fund such a project. We started out with the basics– how to figure out what type of project would best benefit the school/community, the steps of project planning, and writing the goals and objective of the project. Then we made action plans to decide the timeline, tasks, and roles. By the end of the conference, we had created an outline of a potential project and all of the steps along the way.
My counterpart (Pikria) and I
I took my counterpart, Pikria, to the conference. Though there are some things my school definitely needs in the future (indoor, more hygienic toilets and heating in all classrooms), it’s not feasible for me to complete these larger-scale projects. Instead, Pikria and I have chosen to renovate the smaller upstairs gym (as opposed to the large downstairs gym which supposedly the government will renovate). Once completed, it’s our hope that the gym will be used for some sports classes and my girls’ fitness club as well as serving as a conference/meeting room for the school (we will buy tables/chairs that can easily be set up and taken down). We’re still in the early stages of the project, but my director supports the project and thinks it’s doable, so hopefully we’ll begin working more intensively on the project this winter and spring.
Pikria and I with our project overview
The conference was a lot of work, but staying in Kobuleti at the Georgia Palace Hotel was a real treat. It’s starting to get pretty chilly in my village, so staying in a heated hotel with hot showers rejuvenated me enough to make it through the final two weeks of school before winter break. The buffet meals of non-Georgian food were also much appreciated. There’s only so much oily badrijani (eggplant) and khachapuri (bread stuffed with cheese) I can eat before I start going crazy. Now it’s back to village life, but thanks, Peace Corps, for almost making me feel like I was in America again.