Anaklia Concert

I woke up this early Saturday morning thinking I was headed on a nice, relaxing excursion with my host family to a lovely town called Anaklia….You’d think I’d have learned by now – things are never what you think here. Instead, I was rushed into getting ready an hour earlier than I thought and had to skip breakfast. We hurried down to school and then waited…for an hour…before loads of my second and third grade girls and their parents started showing up and loading up into a marshrutka. As we started rolling out of town I realized this was going to be a very, very long day.

We arrived in town a few hours later not in Anaklia but in the city of Zugdidi. And BRRRRR! was it cold. Those poor little things were forced to put on tights and their traditional Georgian skirts and wait outside until the doors of the theatre opened up. Soon enough they did. If you haven’t guessed by now, apparently I was invited to another concert/competition between different local villages. Most of the groups were older and danced or sang, but our little cuties played their panduris (Georgian Guitars) and sang their little hearts out! How cute they were all lined up giving it their all!

When the event ended we had to wait around for the girls certificates/awards and then like the speed of light they were suddenly bundled up in their regular clothes and we were driving full speed ahead to… well, I don’t know where. I think the orgiainal plan had been to have a Georgian style picnic somewhere on the beach at Anaklia, but since it was so cold we drove around until we found an empty restaurant to over take. I think Nino and the other adults asked the empty restaurant to let us use their chairs, tables, and silverware in exchange for our picnic lunch. And right here is the perfect example of why Georgians are so awesome….they said yes. And they even had their waiters serve all the little girls water in fancy glass cups. Later a few of them joined us in toasting the little girl’s accomplishments and singing a few songs as well. I think if there were ever a handful of little girls who felt like princesses it was this lot!  We left extra food for everyone at the restaurant as a thank you and we drove off as they started cleaning up.

It definitely hadn’t warmed up, but it had stopped drizzling so we all hoped out of the marshrutka and took a stroll along the newly bricked beach front. We passed a very fancy hotel, a police speed boat, and skipped all the way across the bridge – and when I say skipped – I mean we skipped, arm in arm, shouting in English, “We are skipping,” the entire way. (Worn out much? The answer would be yes.) Once we got to the other side Nino told me we had just stepped foot in Abkhazia! This is a region that most of the world considers part of Georgia, and Georgia wants it to be, but the people in this region claim independence from all it’s neighbors. So who knows really. It actually states in my contract that I’m not allowed to step foot in this region or South Ossetia during my time as a TLG volunteer. Hopefully only a few steps won’t hurt!

After a very long and rather exciting day, we loaded back up into that marshrutka, turned it around and drove home. Another surprising day filled with life…I love this place.

A freezing morning as we wait for the doors to open.

Nino’s girls doing a fabulous job entertaining the crowd!

Nino and her happy little girls after the concert.

The tiniest girl of all…barely taller than her Panduri instrument!

Magda, Nino, and Tika – three lovely little girls!

Anaklia’s iconic bridge.

Group photo in front of Anaklia’s new hotel.

Toma in front of a very cool Police boat!

Mother and Son in Anaklia!

Host brother and Volunteer sister in Anaklia!

Anaklia by night.


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