After school today we celebrated the arrival of the chalkboards! In Georgia, a Supra, or large party with food and drinks, accompanies any celebration you could think of. From weddings and birthdays, to funerals and anniversaries and even anniversaries of funerals! All of my teachers add something to the event, their signatures dish, cups/plates/forks/and napkins, or their homemade kvino (wine).
I invited Kanise and her English co-teacher Lana from the next village over, Cajun who helped me transport the boards, and a special guest: Marina. She is my TLG Regional Representative and if I have any questions or requests she is the woman I call first….which means we’ve spoken on the phone or over email at least once a week since I arrived!
Once we were all there we sat down to eat. As the supra progresses a person (usually a male) called the Tamada is ment to stand and give toast after toast and encourage others to do so. Since the old director, Zuri, was one of the few men present he took this responsibility and kept the party going. He toasted to GreenHeart Travel who provided the money to purchase the boards, the community and teachers who participated to make this project come together, to all who helped locate and transport the boards, as well as toasts to me, my family, my future family, my sister, her future family, the school, the children at the school, and the future children who will come to this school……you get the picture.
Each teacher stood to offer a thank you and say a few special words to me. My co-teacher Tamuna translated for all the English speakers in the room. Then came the moment for my toast. My host mother Nino had arrived (Toma was sick and was taken to town to get medicine today so she was late). So I stood up, took a deep breath and thanked my guests, all the teachers who work so hard, my co-teachers for teaching beside me, Marina who was vital to the project, and of course the woman who made everything possibly by allowing me to live in her home: Nino. I toasted lastly to Toma and all the children in the school who will have more opportunity because of our work. I wiped my tears and went over and gave Nino a very large hug and a tissue because she was a mess just like me. : )
After this Nino went over to the piano and the teachers started singing some Georgian songs. We danced and took photos and finished up eating. Later I sang Jingle Bells for all the teachers while Nino played it on the piano – we had practiced a few times at home – and oh how the teachers loved to hear a song in English!
Once we cleaned up we went into the hallway and opened the box with the chalkboards. We walked one of them up to a classroom and held it on the wall so the teachers could all see what they would look like once they were hanging! The energy was electric – nothing like this has ever happened to this school before and everyone felt honored to be a part of it.
This supra really brought out how much we all love and respect each other. I’ve only been here for 4 short months – but we have become a family. I’ve spent quality time with each of the people at the table – even if we didn’t always understand one another – there is mutual care and pride for the other. I am so proud of Shroma – the teachers and the students. And I am ever so grateful that I was in a position to provide a tangible change that improve this school.