Cuttino's Georgian Life

A journal of my Peace Corps service in the Republic of Georgia, 2006-2008.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Placement time

Hello all!

First off, check out what the New York Times had to say about Georgian drivers and Georgian food.

Secondly, for those of you following the news really, really closely, there’s been an interesting situation in Georgia unfolding over the past few days. On Wednesday, the Georgian military entered a region in the disputed territory of Abkhazia (the separatist region in the northwest corner of the country). Their mission was to disarm a militia that had declared its own autonomy and threatened to attack. Right now, it looks like the government has control of the region. Things seem to be stabilizing, but tensions have been high for most of this month. The move has also annoyed Russia, which has peacekeeping troops in the region. Don’t worry! The Peace Corps is following this situation closely and will keep us all safe. Our training is a long way from this region and it is a restricted zone so no Volunteers were anywhere near the area. If you’re interested, this article gives a great explanation of the situation and how its affecting relations between Georgia, Abkhazia, and Russia.

Finally, the good news! My site placement is….Gori. That’s right, the same place I’ve been training and the hometown of Joe Stalin. On Friday, all the trainees gathered in the courtyard of our training school. They had painted a giant map of Georgia and one by one, distributed envelopes with our locations and assignments. We then found our site on the map and stood as the others found out. It was a fun exercise, and I was lucky to find myself almost exactly in the middle of the country. Best of all, I’m just an hour away from the capital.

I will be placed in a non-profit called “Biliki” (Georgian for “path”). It runs a shelter for street children, refugees and disabled kids. I got to spend the past three days at their office and was very impressed. They have a newly-renovated building with all the perks of a Western office. There are 23 employees, including two psychologists, a social worker, a nurse, teachers, and an IT technician. Biliki is currently serving about 150 children in the Gori area. My job will be to help them improve their organization and expand their services. Check out the Biliki website. Keep in mind that the English site is a work in progress—one of my tasks will be to fix that—but at least the picture gallery is nice.

Got to run for now, but I’m going to post again soon with stories about a five-hour supra, a nuclear physicist turned-priest, and a very, very large hole my host father is digging in the backyard. Take care everyone and I promise to stay out of the Kodori Gorge.

2 Comments:

  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger Benjamin Madison said…

    Hi,
    There's not much news online about the Republic of Georgia and even less about street children in Georgia so I hope you will post a lot.

    Let me know when the new Biliki website is operational in English and I'll post a link to it on my directory at
    http://www.almudo.com/georgiastreetchildren.htm
    You might also be interested in
    http://georgia-streetkids.blogspot.com/
    where I have taken the liberty of quoting a bit of your blog entry and, you can find my e-mail address at the bottom of the page there.

     
  • At 1:18 PM, Blogger Patrick said…

    sounds like a pretty sweet gig you've gotten yourself into! Kind of like a consultant but minus the headaches and self-loathing while you down a martini in another D.C. watering hole. Or maybe that's just what I see every day.

    Nate and Mary Margaret are in town this weekend, and Whitney just moved in to her new place yesterday. They all say hi! Have an awesome time.

     

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