Friday, 20 September 2019

3 months - half way.

So it is official - half of my volunteering experience has passed already. What are my thoughts, you would ask?

1. We have done several focus groups with the locals, including medical staff, teachers and beneficiaries. They provided us with some facts from the field concerning women's situation in the region.
2. The interviewers have been trained to do the survey. So the survey has officially started.
3. We are moving soon to a brand new office :)
4. I wrote a project proposal about stray dogs in Samegrelo

Personal life:

1. I did some more travelling :) Which is always great :)

2. New volunteers arrived  to Merkuri from Poland and Italy :) I also met some great people from other organizations.
3. We discovered more fancy restaurants in Zugdidi - like hotel Leto with a terrace and swimming pool on the rooftop :)
4. My Georgian Grandpa collected the grapes and will make 100 litres of wine ! The wine season is ON!
4. More doggy friends :)

So all good. More work and more fun :)

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

2 months in Zugdidi

After 2 months in Zugdidi I can tell that I managed to find my paths and routines.

What happened so far:

As of work:
1. We are working on a shadow report to CEDAW on the women's situation in the region of Samegrelo (the region neighbouring with Abkhazia)
2. As I expected it is wonderful to work with small, local NGOs - you are heard, your opinion counts and you keep your options open. Every day brings something new.
3. I participated in a training, that was on the seacoast ( yes! :) )
4. I met a lot of inspiring women.

Personal life

1. I am taking Georgian and Russian classes. So two new alphabets to be absorbed by my head - not an easy task.
2. I travelled around the country - the best way to do it is with a rented car and a group of friends. It is definitely worth it.
3. I tried many Georgian dishes - khinkali and khachapuri, but also sulguni (cheese), gebzhlia (cheese dish), nazuki (bread with cinnamon) and plenty of others. Conclusion? Georgian cuisine is one of the best in the world.
4. I am happy to buy real food here - all meat, fruits and vegetables are from small farmers. The animals live freely and the fruits and veggies you buy according to season.
5. I feed everyday some stray dogs, so I met a lot of super cute friends on four paws.

Main difficulties:
1. Language barrier
2. Being the only volunteer

Good news:
1. My combination of Russian, Georgian, Polish, English and sign language - is sufficient to communicate.
2. Four more volunteers are coming soom :)

Let's see what is going to be next.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

First week in Zugdidi

I arrived in Zugdidi on the 18th of June, not knowing what to expect.

Now it has been one week. What are my thoughts? Let's try to organize them.

So, the first thing on the way from the airport to Zugdidi that I found interesting, funny and heart-warming was a free pig walking on the road. Cows - yes, I am pretty sure we all have seen them free, chewing a grass by the road. But pigs? - I loved the fact that cows and pigs seem to have a happy life in here.

The city itself is smaller than I thought, however the centre is full of people. Another surprise? It is also full of palm trees. As I was told, the climate of Georgia is sub-tropical.

The office - women working at the Merkuri association are amazing. Super kind, helpful and supportive. I have to say they encouraged me a lot.

The job - my task will be to work within the area of domestic violence and on a CEDAW report, so I am excited to do it. But even though it has been only week, I already met some interesting people and took part in important events. For instance, I went to a meeting with the EU ambassador for Georgia! I also met with the beneficiaries and by seeing them smiling I made sure that they must be doing a great job.

Food - oh yes :) The food here is amazing. The ladies invited me to a beautiful restaurant so I could try several Georgian dishes, including  khachapuri and the wine of course.

Other events - the protests in Tbilisi just started few days ago and are still ongoing. Here in Zugdidi they were only few demonstrating people on the street so it feels pretty safe. I am hoping for the situation to be resolved soon.

Let's see what is going to be like to work as an EUAV :)