Job Shadowing in Telavi

Every trainee, whether education or business, gets the opportunity to leave their PST (pre-service training) site and job shadow a current volunteer. All the G13s shadowed a current G12 volunteer. I was matched up with Carolyn, who is a former interior designer from Paris, Texas. I found another southern lady in this Georgia, y’all!

 

The job shadowing process forces trainees to figure out their own transportation to and from the site along coordinating when and where to meet up with their assigned volunteer. Luckily, Aaron, Al, Sarah, and Kirk also had job shadowing assignments in and/or near Telavi, so all five of us figured out how to hop a marshutka to the capital Tbilisi. From there, just Aaron, Al, and I found a taxi to Telavi, since marshutkas don’t run directly to the city center.

 

Telavi is situated 120 kms east of Tbilisi in the middle of Georgia’s wine country. After a full day of travel Sunday, we strolled around Telavi, ate American food for the first time in Georgia, and enjoyed a traditional Georgian concert in celebration of Georgian Independence Day.

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On Monday, I shadowed Carolyn at her school. Carolyn currently works with a special needs school, Fun New Life, in Telavi. The school lost state certification within the past year, so Carolyn has been grant writing and assisting with bringing the school up to code. In the meantime, the school serves as a nursery and daycare for children 5 and under.

 

After a two-hour tour of the former Russian music school now turned special needs facility, Carolyn and I met up with Aaron, Al, and Carl (their PCV shadower) to present an anti-smoking training at the USAID office. After the class, Carl, a former chef in America, cooked homemade tortillas for my first bite of Mexican in Georgia. Beyond delicious!

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On Tuesday, Carolyn took me around to all the major English resources in Telavi – the American Corner (sponsored by the US Embassy), the region’s major business office, and the Tourist Information Center. After, we regrouped with Carl, Aaron, and Al for another tour of Fun New Life followed by lunch and a trek up the mountain to Telavi State University, where two other current volunteers work.

 

Just one hour later, we ran down the mountain to Telavi School #2 for basketball practice with Carl’s counterpart Pada, who heads up the Telavi YMCA. Carl currently works with the Telavi YMCA in developing youth sports. Their major project is a 3-on-3 basketball tournament set to kick off at the end of June around the time Carl heads back to Seattle. Carl also assists Pada with a new basketball league forming in Telavi to compete with the league currently running in Tbilisi. The dream is to develop and intertwine leagues in every major city in Georgia within the next few years.

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Post practice, we hiked over to the YMCA for another anti-smoking campaign followed by dinner at Chateau Marie. This vineyard looks more like a castle with riding stables than a posh restaurant and hotel. At Chateau Mere, we joined a Peace Corps Response Volunteer that served in Mongolia, a Fullbright Fellow working at Telavi State, and a few other Telavi PCVs for a glass of wine and dinner. The red wine is a must if you ever make your way to Telavi, Georgia!

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The next day, I packed up all my belongings and headed back to Surami with the rest of the trainee crew, on route purchasing some peanut butter (rarity in Georgia) Tbilisi. Jam packed but enlightening four days of job shadowing.

 

Want to see more photos of Vardzia? Check out the whole album on Flickr!

 

Disclaimer: 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.