When I logged into my account on this page I realised one thing: I didn't post anything in super long. It's not that nothing happened, actually it's more the opposite, but I just didn't find a calm minute with a lot of motivation to write everything down that was happening along the way and now I look at the calendar and see that my 1 year project finishes in 5 days.
Wow...5 of 365...but that realisation will be the topic of another article. Now I want to talk about all the cool, fun, but also stressful things that happened over the last weeks.
At the end of June (I know, almost 2 months ago...I was really absent...) all of us volunteers (ISCR and GYE) organised a summer camp in Chinti for youngsters with our coordinators. Mainly it was about having fun and getting away from home after the quarantine, but we also included topics like environment or the English language to give them the possibility to learn in a creative and informal way. I already mentioned quarantine, right? Officially the staying at home part was over, but still we had a lot of things to consider, for example that not more than 10 people can stay inside together, which is why we did everything outside and slept in tents. I was responsible for measuring the temperature which was fun for me, but from the tired kid's faces I got to see every morning I guess they were a little bit annoyed...at least the older ones ^^. Another challenge was finding activities where everybody could keep their distance. It took us ages to come up with team building games in which everyone stands 2 metres apart, but in the end I think we all had a lot of fun over the week.
I also traveled a lot over July and August with some other volunteers. We went to Kutaisi and to some Canyons around and the Prometheus caves which were really beautiful and refreshingly cool, it was only 15°C inside. Compared to the 35°C outside it was like heaven and because of the Corona measures we had our private tour guide, so there was a lot of time for asking as many questions as we wanted. In Martvili Canyon we did a short paddle boat tour through the canyon, saw small waterfalls everywhere and the water was super clear, it was amazing. So far I think the trip to Kutaisi was actually my favourite, because not only everything around was nice, but I also really liked the city itself which I didn't have until now. All the other cities I visited in Georgia were not bad and had beautiful places, but there was always something that made me want to come home to Rustavi pretty fast again, even though Rustavi is also not the most exciting city.
We went to Svaneti to see Mestia and hitchhiked to Ushguli, one of the highest continuously inhabited villages in Europe, and let me tell you: when you don't have your own car (preferably suitable for complicated high territory) and didn't book a private tour by Marshrutka it is pretty hard to get there. There were almost no cars and the road was super damaged on the way, but after 4 hours with partly walking, partly by car, we finally arrived and the view was impressive. Walking a lot also gave us the chance to watch all the butterflies next to the road...there were really many. Around Mestia we went hiking and found some nice places next to the river and wild strawberries.
Three weeks ago I went to Gudauri with some friends and we went paragliding. For the first time during my stay in Georgia I didn't feel super small in the mountains. From up above the giant monument nearby looked like a toy and we were really lucky with the weather. The only thing that was a bit...let's say creepy...was the safety of the seat I was in. Of course it was approved and the pilot behind me also was super professional, but there was so much space between my legs and the safety belt that I sometimes felt likeI had to hold on really strongly to not fall out, but it was just my feeling. When my pilot started turning it was like sitting in a rollercoaster which was super fun.
Every Thursday I'm leading a basketball club for kids now and after playing basketball, we paint, do some projects or play some more games until the parents come to pick them up again. Last week we had a short day camp over three days concerning environment. We had 10 kids and all of them participated so well that they became certified Green Heroes at the end of the week and everyone got a cactus for their home. I really enjoyed these activities and it was nice for us as a team too. At first we were supposed to organise another summer camp, but because of new Corona measures we couldn't and this day camp in Rustavi was the new idea we came up with.
Now most of us are just busy with preparing their leaving, because 4 (including me) of 6 current volunteers will leave Georgia next week. On Sunday we will have a little goodbye party and during the night the first two are already going to the airport to fly back home to Lithuania.
All the things I just wrote about are only the "big" things that happened, but there were many more short trips and funny hitchhiking experiences that will stay in my memory for at least a little while longer.