So now that I know my first year contract here will be honored, I want to post this drama filled tale.
TLG, the government program that I am working with/ for here in Georgia was started by the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. It is currently in its third year. I was oriented into the Forty-Third group to come here to Georgia.
Elections came around this past October and there was good news and bad news for President Saakashvili. Good news, the election was just for Parliament seats so his current position was not threatened. But the bad news is his political party was ousted.
Rumor is this new party in power HATES Saakashvili’s programs for Georgia (TLG being one of them). Whatever the reality of that statement doesn’t matter. What does matter is what a party actually does when they are in power.
So the rest of this post will be about the ensuing drama from my perspective regarding my program, TLG.
Most of what I have been hearing and sensing from others in the program has been so positive, that the majority decided to extend their contracts (from 4 months to a year). During the election, however, TLGers were starting to get nervous from aforementioned rumors.
Soon after, the program cancelled excursions (trips to historic areas around the country) for the rest of the year. Then they stopped receiving any more volunteers into the program for the rest of the year. This really got members of the program antsy. So because of the uncertainty, a lot of people (from my group) decided to bail, thinking that the TLG program was a sinking ship and its better to jump before shit goes down.
During this time we were asked to submit requests for extend contracts officially and to request vacation flights or return home flights. We were told that after submitted, we should check email regularly as they wanted to schedule flights soon. Okay.
But the program didn’t notify anyone that they were extended nor did they release flight information. This caused more panic.
Time goes on. No information. Time goes on…. no information.
People started calling the office for information and their varied results gets the rumor mill cranked up to high levels. Blog posts were (and still are) running amuck!
Then a member from our group, #43 posted that she was rejected for extension! Shit started getting real. She said that she had good recommendations from her co teachers, principal, etc. So this new turn of events added fuel to the fire.
Some people (like me) started getting unannounced observation visits from Regional Representatives. Others didn’t but were still being rejected. Some had been in the program for a year or more…. rejected. Some were only here for a month…. rejected. And some people even had their yearlong contract revoked! The scary thing was there was no rhyme or reason and moreso, no explanation.
Things have come down to the final wire because winter break is upon us, and some people still didn’t know if they were extended or they were, when their flights were scheduled. This obviously caused high anxiety, because your future is basically hanging in the air and there is nothing you can do about it.
Finally this week, I think the dust has settled and everybody knows what their fate is. Rumor mill says that only 25% of volunteers who asks for extensions were accepted. A friend who is travelling to South Africa for break next week just received flight confirmation.
These last few months have left a bitter residue with a lot of TLG members.
But fortunately for me, my long-term plan is still intact. I will return from winter break to Teach and Learn with Georgia.
“Well there’s gone for good and there’s good and gone
Then there’s gone with the long before it
I wish she’d been just a little more clear
Theres gone for the day and gone for the night
Gone for the rest of your dog-gone life
Is it whiskey night or just a couple of beers
I mean what kinda gone are we talkin’ ’bout here”
What Kinda Gone, Chris Cagle