30 Apr 2014

The Taste of Georgia

by Jana Ďaďová 

Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're gonna get.
When I came to Georgia, I couldn´t imagine what would be waiting for me here.  And my experience was really like tasting various chocolates.  I like chocolates but not all kinds.  I love the ones with caramel, nuts, cappuccino and coffee flavours very much.   And I dislike chocolates with marzipan, cherries and mint.
I will always remember Georgia as a country of peace, beauty, life, sunny days, untouched nature, amazingly hospitable people, breathtaking dances, colourful bazaars, unbeatable spirit, Supras and great values...
On the other hand I could also see Georgia as wild, cruel and unpredictable - a country full of dust, strange conservative people, streets with rubbish and limping dogs, grey houses, resigned faces, hidden meanings, unfulfilled promises...
Behind every word there is a story of my experience that once I might write or talk about. But usually we want to remember and to tell others just what we enjoyed very much.  So my short story will be about the best „chocolate“ I tasted in Georgia.
For me it is Supra - a traditional feast with lots of Georgian food, tasty wine, music, dancing and singing, merry people, endless toasts, ghosts of the past and mainly Georgian hearts ready to accept you as a friend.
My last Supra was (for Georgia not typically) planned weeks in advance and until the last minutes I didn´t believe it will happenJ.  But a marshutka full of excited people arrived at Achiko´s village on time, the table with food was already prepared and we could feel the scent of baking khachapuri in our empty stomachs.  Then first toast, wine, food, second toast, birthday wishes, wine, food, third toast, wine, white Lada, fourth toast, wine, dance, more toasts, more wine, more dance, more delicious food... and finally care of Achiko´s fantastic grandma who was like our own mother J.
So much good atmosphere, joy, laugh, emotions, excited people and good wishes at one place I haven´t witnessed for very long time and I can just say I love Georgia and the hearts of Georgian people. I feel grateful for this experience and for all friends I found here.
And after all that, I can just add: Georgia is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're gonna get.

PS: Achiko, thank you, your grandma and the rest of your family again for this damned-great experience and the best birthday celebration everJ.

21 Apr 2014

First impressions of French volunteers

by Marine Helfer

April, the 2nd: arrival during the night, after a fifteen hours travel… We really didn’t know what will happen the first days, so we felt excited, a bit afraid and curious. But we were especially tired!

After a good night in our new beds, new rooms, new flat, we unpacked the 40 kilos of luggage we brought with us. 

Actually, the welcome and the help of other volunteers have been very helpful since the beginning of our adventure! All we needed we could ask them, they were available and so lovely. That’s why the transition between France and Georgia hasn’t been as hard as we imagined.

First shopping, first cooking, first walk around the city… Everything came quite naturally. The only thing not so natural was to speak English. As French people, our level of English is for the moment quite ridiculous but of course in 6 months we’ll be bilingual... Or maybe trilingual with the Georgian classes?! We’re looking forward to these classes to learn some words which can be helpful in the everyday life. “Pardon”, “Au revoir”, “Non merci”. There are so many words I would like to remember in order to integrate into the local culture and to be able to understand more or less all it’s written in the street. For the moment, “Gamarjoba” and “Madloba” are the only words I can say in Georgian. Better than nothing…    

For the moment, my activities in the association are only Sapovnela and a Spanish class so I think it’s not enough to give me a real picture of GYE. I can only say that I’m glad to have a lovely mentor and that the French evening was a good idea because it was a good way to integrate ourselves and to present quickly our country to others. Now, I’m looking forward to discovering our new country, Georgia.