I was told that today after classes we’d all be heading down to Ozurgeti to give “the poor peoples” mandarines. I sorta chuckled when they said this, but I suppose for Georgia, many of the families in my village have enough to eat and drink and live a comfortable life. We loaded up in the school bus with boxes of ripe mandarines and headed to town on this very rainy day.
Now, I’ve learned a little bit about Georgia since I’ve been here, so when we stopped and just sat around for a good 5 minutes I made a point to say I needed to go to the store and get some photos printed (the ones that are going on the kids thank-you cards). So after another 10 minutes of just hanging around waiting for whatever it was we were waiting for….I made my move and headed down to drop off my USB stick with the photos on them that needed to be printed. The guy in there knew my face since it was the same place I’d been when I printed out the pictures of each of the kids (that’s going on the inside of each of the thank you cards). Then I rushed back to the bus – and sure enough – it was still there.
After another half an hour things started moving. We drove to a nearby school in town and everyone hopped out. The priest, the school director, the teachers, and a ton of students. We assembled in a large, colorfully painted room and to my surprise the kids all started singing!? Ok, so this is a musical concert for the “poor peoples” too. I had no idea!
This must have been organized at some point before today because our school would sing a song, then their school would sing, then we would recite a poem, and then they would. They also played a sort of trivia game and also charades. As it was wrapping up my Director grabbed me and made a little speech about how Shroma had received a volunteer English teacher and I knew how to sing….
Ok. Here we go I guess!? Nino sat down at the piano and began to play Jingle Bells….I cleared my throat and hoped for the best since I hadn’t really spoken or used my voice much since the end of class and during our entire bus ride. I think my own students from Shroma were the most amazed. And I realized they’d 1) never heard me sing – which ‘aint too bad and 2) had never heard me speak full speed! I sang two rounds of the song and then everyone joined in singing the Karuli version of the song with me still singing it in English! Wow!
The teachers from Shroma unloaded the mandarines and I ran back over to pick up and pay for the pictures. Nino somehow managed to get me and Toma in a friends car to get home rather than taking the bus – so we got home at least 45 minutes before everyone else! Hurray – good job Nino!