So today, I planned on staying downstairs to type and use computer. Played a little bit with Nino. Lado came in and asked did I want to see the President. Hell yeah! He said he had to go see someone first, then he would come back to get me in 15 minutes.
I was supposed to meet two others from #43 in town, so I called and told them what was up and where to meet. Unfortunately for them all those directions were incorrect. When we got to what I thought was the place the President, I was informed that no, this was not in fact the place. This is the place where we are getting on a marshut’ka to go to the family’s village to see the President. Okay.
It so happens that the deda (mother) is a political organizer. So in the middle of the crowd, there she is getting shit done. She had a list and everybody was huddled around her. I guess the list were people signed up to get on the bus. After a few minutes, they put me in the front of the bus and off we went.
The village was close, and looked like the other two villages I have seen. We sat by a tree and waited for the time to pass. The police were out in full force from the town center all the way out to the village. I don’t think they carry guns. But there is no reason for me to find out.
We met some friends of Lado’s; Tiki and Ira, 10th grade girls. Ira was enrolled in the school I will be teaching. They were the quintessential high school teenager. At first they didn’t want to speak the limited English they knew, but they wanted to talk to me. Okay. Tiki said I had a lovely face. Okay.
We waited and waited. Got an “I Love Georgia” shirt. THAT really got attention. All sorts of people started asking for pictures; especially the grandmas. We waited some more.
The tenth graders started becoming more and more comfortable. Exhausting all of their English words, the resorted to just saying, “I love you, very much” and getting me to say similar things in Georgian.
We finally figured out where he was going to speak, so we went through security check to get there. Once the organizers realized I was American AND wearing a Georgian shirt AND waving a Georgian flag, they ushers me pretty much to the front row. It was my goal to speak to the President, but some old ladies had an agenda, too. It seems there is a culture of writing down what you would like to tell him and giving it to a member of the ‘Secret Service’ (they actually looked like hired mercenaries, but whatever).
Finally he came, spoke, left.
Although I didn’t get to speak to him, it was still pretty cool seeing him this early while here.