**Having the WORST time uploading pictures due to slow internet. So check back later on the next couple of posts for pictures****
I set myself up for mediocrity when I got here in terms of dealing with the Teach and Learn with Georgia, TLG program. Especially given the numerous contract form changes we had to sign, date switches and last minute plane departure details. But I could not have been more impressed by the training. This program is only two years old, and they have pretty much got things down to a science in terms of the care of delegates and information they provide.
They gave us a schedule on day one, and they followed it the entire week, almost to the hour. Which given the Georgian ‘way’ and so many volunteers from different cultures and accents, this was no small feat. The ladies in charge of the training for us where Tamara and her assistant Renata. They were wonderful. Tamara is VERY protective of our care and making sure everyone was on the right page in regards to understanding the information. She was not going to leave anyone behind. A brief example of her extraordinary care: my roommate got what he called food poisoning (we all had troubles acclimating to the food in one way or another). But he was down and out, to the point a medical team was called to rehydrate with a drip bag. I wasn’t alarmed in the least when I came back from a session and seeing all this going on in our room. But Tamara was at the door on crowd control. and she especially made a point to explain to me EXACTLY what was going on and that it was by no means contagious. I wasn’t fearful of at all, but it was sweet of her to care.
They had specialist come to assist with Insurance procedures. “Before you look at a hospital, call hotline!” Other specialists assisted with banking, expectations from host homes, expectations of schools, etc. They were very ‘worst case scenario’ with expectations, which was appreciated. They did not sugarcoat anything; from harassment of western women (which has been blogged and rumored about a lot), to perceived discriminatory behavior, ie, towards people of color). The bluntness and frankness was appreciated by all.
We were all divided into classes of level of language capability to start learning the language. My class was average capability, I would say. Our teacher was super great. The cutest lady in Georgia! She was patient and let a sense of humor fly occasionally, but still very professional. (I got her to laugh once or twice.)
But we had two hour classes for three days of the training week. They were intense, but so well worth it. By the end I by no means can grasp this complex language, but I (we) felt really good about the foundation. And that was a sense of relief. Like we can actually read the alphabet and make out words, which means if push came to shove, we can read signs to get around. And we have enough verb phrases and key words to communicate in emergency and social situations. Well done, TLG!
“I was glad everything had worked out
Dropped her butt off and then chirped out
Today was like one of those fly dreams
Didn’t even see a berry flashin those high beams
No helicopter lookin for the murder
Two in the mornin got the Fatburger
Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp
And it read, “Ice Cube’s a pimp”
Drunk as hell but no throwin up
Half way home and my pager still blowin up
Today I didn’t even have to use my A.K.
I gotta say it was a good day”
Today Was A Good Day, Ice Cube