Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Land of Manganese (Whatever that is)

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I last blogged, but our week of training was incredibly busy. Plus, I’ve spent the last two days getting acclimated to my new home. It’s luck of the draw, really, but I’m way out in a little village called Zodi, about 30 minutes from Chiatura, a medium-sized town that still has active manganese mines. Over the course of training, I made some fast friends and wound up getting placed near Bran, who is in the city along with 4 other volunteers. I’m the only one in my area on a farm.

Not that I’m complaining too much. I live with a 25 year old man named Tedo whose glasses magnify his eyes to epic proportions, and his mother, my deda (mother in Georgian), who yells almost constantly but never without a grin on her face. It’s pretty incredible.

I’ve met some of my students. From the looks of it, I’ll be teaching 8th grade English, and from the skills of my teacher, I’ll be doing much of the lesson planning. Four of the girls from the English classes live around me, two of them in the house right across the “street.” Let me tell you something about my house. As we were driving up to it, the road got progressively worse – first it was nicely paved, coming for about 2km out of Chiatura. Then, we took a left onto a rocky but manageable road. From there, the road became pocked with potholes the size of small ponds, until it gave way entirely to grass and stopped at my house’s driveway. Oh boy.

So I’m secluded and neither Tedo nor my deda speak a lick of English. It’s not all bad. I can communicate pretty effectively with the girls from the English classes who are always around. I can’t wait to start teaching them so they can help me figure out just exactly how much electricity to expect. We’ve spent the past couple of nights laughing and trying to communicate. We were warned early on that you’d spend much of your time just staring at your family – well, we’re not into that here. We’re going to try to talk, and by God, if that means my deda yells at me in Georgian like I understand it, so be it.


  1. Oh man, too funny about the 'yelling like I understand it' - can easily picture an evening on the farm. What do they grow/raise there? How big is the house? Do you have your own room? Is there an address or other way for us to find the farm on Google Earth? What's the countryside like? Is there a church? What else is in the village of Zodi? It's great to hear from you and know you're doing well. Good luck with the lesson planning. Your mom is so impressed that you're teaching the same subject to the same age group that she did (with a few differences, of course). Love the blogs, keep them coming!

  2. Ha! I love this - I wish I could hear your deda yelling. Sounds similar to my mom yelling at the yard workers in English thinking that maybe if she yells it will make more sense!

    Glad to hear you are enjoying your family.