Monday, November 19, 2007

Well, it has been a while since I’ve updated the blog. A lot has happened. For starters it has gotten really cold in Minadze. I wear my long my underwear every where and I bathe less. My host family has started using the wood stove; it keeps the kitchen and living room toasty but there is a lot of wood to be split. One of my counterparts got married. I got to go to the wedding which was fun. I also got to teach by my self for a while; I guess that was fun too. My school just got electricity which is fantastic. Also, there was a state of emergency declared for all of Georgia following riots in the capital Tbilisi. Schools were canceled for a while and volunteer travel was restricted. I’d like to say there was danger and it was exciting witness such political instability, but it really wasn’t. It was boring. I spent the better part of two weeks at home watching Georgian state television with my host mother. Any how, that’s about it for the news from Minadze. For Christmas I will be going to France. That should be fun.

If you like to call me, you can using skype. I don’t think its too expensive. Let me know if you’re interested and I can send you an email with directions about how you can go about giving me a call.

Also, I recommend you check out some of the other Peace Corps Georgia volunteer blogs. Most of them are much better written and more frequently updated than my own. You can just kind of assume that I’m doing the same things they are and have many of the same thoughts about Georgia and the Georgian, except that I have a lot more free time because i’m not regularly updating a sweet blog.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

No school this week in Minadze. Children are needed in the fields. Big harvest I guess. I don’t really know what to do with myself. I’ve been helping my host mother and aunt with their jamming and potato sorting. This past weekend I received a lesson is moon shine. Beneath our home, my host family is storing everything we will need for winter. Among the potatoes, jars and cans my host father proudly showed me the 100 liters of mulberry vodka he distilled this summer. It was in 5, 20 liter glass jugs. He explained that the vodka was 30 to 40 percent alcohol and unlike many other types of vodka, mulberry vodka it was very good for the heart. Now that I’m quickly proof reading my blog entry, I see that last bit could have been failure of josh’s Georgian. Perhaps he meant that he loved mulberry vodka more than any other type of vodka? I don’t know. Regardless, this past Sunday morning we set up the still further purified this mulberry vodka. It was pretty simple, there was a huge copper pot, under which we built the fire and from the pot there is a long copper tube which is run through a tank of water for cooling. Everything was sealed with a sawdust glue and I must say, it worked surprisingly well. Over the course of the day we produced; 1 liter of spirits which I was told came in at 180 proof (90 percent alcohol), 30 liters of 120 to 140 proof mulberry vodka and 5 liters of 90 to 100 proof araki. I guess your wondering, how I know the alcohol content of specific batches. Well, once the still got running neighbors started to coming over, pretty soon there this was sort of an advisory committee. They would decide if the fire were too hot and if the water were cool enough and of course every one would sample the vodka and give their opinion. In coming to their decision of what the alcohol content was they also witnessed the flammability test. Here a small cup was thrown onto the fire depending on how explosive it was the men were able to better gauge what proof it was. Any how Gela says it will keep me warm during the winter. I feel like our house is sitting on a bomb. We have also started a 50 gallon plumb, pear mash under the porch. Long winters in Georgia.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I’ve been reminded by several people that I haven’t listed a mailing address. Here it is:

When your mail your letters packages and post cards, write this address, in this manner:

PCV Joshua King
Box 66
Tbilisi 0194

Letters usually take 4-6 weeks to arrive, packages longer, post cards arriver sooner.
Everything is usually x-rayed at US Embassy, packages are often inspected.
It will cost you $.90 to mail a one ounce letter from the states to Georgia

I don’t know how the regional postal system works, so I am going to have everything to sent to peace corps head quarters in Tibilisi. I’ll come in once a month to collect it.

The 17th was my first day of school. I was more of a “getting to know you” day. We sang the national anthem. The 9th graders welcomed the incoming first grade class. There will be 4 new girls this year. I was introduced by the director to all of the parents in attendance. There were several awards distributed, one of them was for superior athlete, the English faculty handed out the “linguist kangaroo” award. I don’t know how the students were selected, my counter part told me there was a national test. I’ll have to double check that. It looked official, but I dont know, I guess I’d be surprised if the linguist kangaroo was a national award.
Awards and introductions lasted for an hour and a half. Most of the students returned home with their parents, although some stayed for a game of dodge ball. The teachers retired to the lounge where we enjoyed coffee, cakes and rosehip liqueur. All in all, it was a very gentle start to the school year. More soon
ps. that is a picture of my training school.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Well, Akhalsitkhe has finally gotten an Internet cafe. Until this week I would have had to have to taken two buses, traveling 2 and a half hours for an Internet connection. Now it's about an hour walk into Akhalsitke, but then, who needs the Internet? I’m over it. The Internet is so 1998. Any how I’m posting a few photos. Truth is that I haven’t really been taking to many pictures. I am going to work on that.

So, I have made it to my permanent site. Every thing is going well. I am 'integrating' into my community.

Recently I have begun helping my host family around the farm. Right now we are scything grass and putting it into hay stacks. I am picking apples and pears, my host mother is jamming and canning like crazy. We have 7 cows, 2 small cows and 2 pigs. It is quite an operation.

I finished my camp. It ran for 10 days there were about 20 kid in total and on the whole I would say that it was a success. I enjoyed working with the kids although it was more difficult work than i had imagined. I taught my campers how to play ultimate Frisbee, it was a huge hit. We ended up playing it every day. They also enjoyed twister and most of them were very interested in painting. Capture the flag was very unpopular and nobody could understand why kick ball was supposed to be fun. They are a great group of kids and I look forward to teaching them for the next couple of years. I was a little unprepared for how noisy children can be. I was a child once and I don't remember yelling all that much. What funny is that it was discussions of what the rules are and whether every one being 'fair' which generated most of the noise. I don't remember being concerned rules when i was child, but then again maybe i just don't remember being 10.

My host father took me to work with him last week which was an adventure. He has a 1987 kamaz dump truck, it is orange. We drove down to the quarry picked up gravel and delivered it places. It was a good time.

How am I? Well, I guess that I am living the dream here in Georgia. That is to say that i dont understand what is going on most of the time but i am having a lot of fun and a lot of what I am seeing doesnt make much sense but I am seeing some incredible things. The people are wonderful and the food is amazing. This has actually caused a small amount of guilt. When entering the peace corps I was under the impression that i would face hardship and that there would be struggle. I thought that this was supposed to be intense. But instead I am teaching at a school of 45 students and my host family makes their own wine. That said, please send me things. I want books. I don’t really care which kind, I will read just about anything. I am reading more books here than I ever did at school. Also if you would like to send me an email, I like my Gmail account,

Pictures are not loading very fast at all. I will put them up later.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Well first i would like to apologize for not posting pictures and generally doing a lame job updating this blog.

Right now i am in pre service training(PST). PST lasts for 10 weeks. We have language classes for four hours every morning 6 days a week and "technical training" in the afternoons until around five thirty. We get Saturday afternoon and Sunday off. That’s when I can come into Gori for internet, when I do my laundry and I do all of these sorts of things. I should have more time when I finish training.

A few weeks ago we received our permanent site assignments. I will be teaching in the town of Minadze. It is fairly high in the lesser Caucus mountains right on the Turkish border. There are 395 people in town and 45 students in our school.

My latest adventure in Georgia has been giardia. It is an intestinal parasite. I wasn't 100% sure that I had it. I was with out the fever and any sort of stool analysis was tough. Any how I mentioned what symptoms i did have to our Peace Corps medical officer. She said that I might not have it but i wouldn't hurt for me to take the medicine. She prescribed 4 large pink pills which i took as directed, all at once. For the past two days I have felt like there have been two warring demons in my stomach, I've been burping sulfur and making evil all kinds of evil in the out house. Any how I feel much better now, glad to be done with it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

So, I'm in georgia. I am having a wonderful time. My three months of language training will be in the village of Ateni which is 4km south of Gori and an hour from Tibilisi. I am living with a host family, we cant talk to each other yet, but they are all very nice. I will be posting pictures soon.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

I’m going to Georgia. Staging is on the 14th of june. I am real excited. As far as the peace corps have told me, I’ll be spending 3 months learning to speak Georgian and then I’ll be teaching English in a Georgian high school. ქართული არ ვიცი!