A Georgian Sunday Funday

You know when you throw a party and right before you get those nervous butterflies that no one will show up to your event? Perfect way to describe the Surami cluster’s feelings right before our IOD community service event.

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Here’s the backdrop to this event… In our IOD (Independent and Organizational Development) class of twelve, we were split in two teams based upon cluster – Surami and Khashuri. My Surami group of six was only given a week, 60 GEL, and four hours on Sunday to complete this event. The assignment first required a needs assessment of the community, se we interviewed all the teachers at school #3 along with a 9th grade English class which my host sister is conveniently in.

My awesome host sister Gvantsa modeling khinkali (Georgian dumplings)

From the two focus groups, we heard needs ranging like (1) constructing a pool and gym, (2) busing children with disabilities to and from the only center in the region – Khashuri,(3) teaching English classes. From all the feedback, our group decided on cleaning up the Surami stadium to aide in creating outlets for kids afterschool, which many teachers said was a major issue.

Picture we used for our flyer to PR the event

I’ll go in how we went about planning and PRing the event in another post, but Sunday morning from 11 to 2 was the stated event time. We all showed up at 10:30 and went to town organizing our different groups and prepping our intro talk to whomever showed up. The Surami cluster was aiming for 10 to 15 volunteers besides just the six of us. How many would you guess showed up? How about over 60 people showed up in tow with a dump truck, CAT tractor, and many a shovel and ho to beautify the stadium! What we thought would take three hours took HALF that time, so the rest of the three hours we spent playing soccer on the trash-free field and eating ice cream. Even our Peace Corps program coordinator Tengo told us that this event was a huge success by PC standards!

After a long day of heavy lifting!

Giorgi and I working out the biceps

Group picture – there were even more people at the event that had left before this shot was taken!

Post clean up, everyone showered and headed up to Tiffany’s to celebrate her big 30! Side note – Tiffany is the only other blonde, so we on a regular basis get confused even by other PCV. At her sahli (house in GA), we had one of the biggest and most delicious cakes I’ve tasted in Georgia. The cake was covered in marshmallow cream and had a layer of fresh oranges in the middle. Mouth watering yet?

Tiffany’s birthday party – Tiffany, her host grandmother Susanna, her host mother Leka, and our teacher Gvantsa

After the birthday bonanza, I came home only to find my host mom Maia making khinkali, which are Georgian dumplings that can be filled with meat, cheese, mushrooms, or spinach. Yesterday, she decided to make the sort filled with a cottage cheese mixture. Delicious! I learned the khinkali braiding technique, where the dumplings end up looking like little fish. We made 50+ khinkali before she plopped them into boiling water, and Aaron (other PCV in Surami) stopped over to enjoy some khinkali and homemade Vodka. Georgian side note – homemade moonshine, Vodka, and wine is a pretty typical hobby. The chacha or homemade moonshine can be 80% alcohol so drinkers beware!

Maia teaching me the proper khinkali braiding technique

First successful braided khinkali

Final delicious product!

 

The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the United States Government or the Peace Corps.

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PC Disclaimer:
Jessica Craven works as an Individual and Organizational Development Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia. The contents of this Peace Corps blog are the intellectual property of Jessica Craven and do not reflect the position, opinion, or views of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.