It has been an exciting few days. At 4:00 AM on Thursday (July 19th) our city, Telavi, was hit with a very strong and damaging storm. Unbelievable rain, hail, wind. The city was decimated with roofs torn away from houses, power lines downed and windows shattered. All vegetation, grapes, gardens, fruit trees and even large trees were heavily damaged or completely destroyed. It was sad and hard to leave on Friday as we departed for our swearing-in ceremony and travel to our new home.
Friday was our swearing-in where we left the throes of trainee and became official Peace Corps Volunteers! The ceremony lasted about two hours and featured a Georgian men’s singing group at the beginning, speeches from American and Georgian dignitaries, the actual moment when we took the official oath and ended with a few songs from a Georgian women’s musical group. I hope the pictures will do this justice.
After the excitement ended we packed Tom’s director’s car with all our luggage and headed off to Gonio/Batumi where we will hopefully spend the next two years fulfilling the Peace Corps’ Mission.
One week later…..
Our new home is in Gonio, a small village just south of Batumi. Actually Gonio is part of Batumi but still has the village characteristics and life style. Our new host family consists of five members, Nodar, host father, Meri, host mother, Margarita, host grandmother, Aleko, host brother and Eliso, host sister. Nodar is a medical doctor working in a local clinic, Meri is a teacher who teaches at the same school as Suzanne and Margarita is a retired teacher.
This first week was the beginning of our integritation into the local community, learning bus and marshutka routes, finding local magazias (markets) and walking the neighborhood. There is only one main road through Gonio and it leads right into Turkey which is about 7 miles down the road.
This is a costal area and the one big attraction is the Black Sea which is a little over 500 meters from our house. The Black Sea beach is stoney instead of sandy but the stones have been polished and smoothed by the water and they are easy to walk over.