I was unavailable for comment last night so Tom posted without me. So, let me fill in a few blank spots for you.
The writing competition was for “creating” writing. An important distinction as the Georgian students don’t seem to understand this concept. It is a learning experience as well as a competition.
The starters for their essays were according to grade level. For instance: for grade 9 one of the starters was “If clouds were edible what would they taste like”. Another class had “What should be free for everyone in the world”? I liked one of the 12th grade prompts: “If death were a person, what would he/she be like”. I think those of us who proctored went home with a lot of new ideas floating around in our brains. It was very stimulating.
Two important items for us are: 1. a visit from David and Tasha in May, and 2. 4 March birthdays to celebrate. D & T will come east to visit and combine that with some time in Turkey. Do I really need to tell you how excited we are to have them come? (Of course, NOT) The 4 birthdays were our host mother, Meri, who is a leap year baby but she celebrates on March 1st (she is 12 at present), then yours truly (whose age is irrelevant), on the 11th Aleko turned 18 and on the 17th Eliso was 16. Can you even imagine all the cake that was baked? The teens party was a joint affair on St. Patrick’s Day with lots of family and friends coming to eat an incredible amount of home-prepared food.
Since Tom’s theme was the arrival of Spring, I was surprised that he didn’t mention the calla lily plants that are blooming in our front yard. Despite a very cold, humid winter we are in a tropical zone and many plants and trees seem to survive the harsh weather just fine. Daffodils are plentiful in the yards around us and forsythia is blooming. Vegetable gardens are already being prepared by some as we see them turning over the ground in preparation for planting.
Now here is an FYI…teachers take note! There is no such thing as a substitute teacher in our village and I suspect in most of the country. When a teacher must be out for any reason, the class schedule gets changed for that day. Can you imagine what havoc that creates? Teachers are moved to other classes and the schedule gets changed as well as the rooms. I spent more than a few days recently trying to find out where I was supposed to be! It usually means a skipped class for some students as well as an earlier dismissal. When I explain to my counterparts about our “substitute” teachers in the U.S. they are envious.
Finally, some of you may know that besides our primary duties as teacher or business person the Peace Corps encourages us to find way to improve our primary communities. Here in Gonio, we are the 3rd PC volunteers at the school. So my predecessors were able, among other things, to get funding for an English Cabinet. The word ‘cabinet’ in Georgian merely means a room or office, and so an English cabinet is a designated English room at the school. We have our own computer and some other useful resources such as a small library of English books. I hope to be able to expand the availability of some good books for the 10 to 16 age group as these are the ones most needed. However, my major aim for the school is to achieve a Science cabinet. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught with very old equipment and minimal supplies. So, once we have a full explanation of what is needed I will be attempting to write a SPA grant to try to fund this adventure. The science teachers are very excited and, of course, this means work for them as they must provide me with lots of information of what they need, the costs of everything, etc. So…that will keep me busy all this spring and probably into the summer. My hope is that we can have completion for the start of next September!
We LOVE hearing from YOU. Keep those cards and letters coming folks (a prize for the person who can remember who said that at the end of every radio/TV show)!