From what I hear from my friends, it’s been a pretty mild winter back in the States. Here in Georgia, though, it’s been a much different story.
I think we’ve had only three sunny days since I arrived here in Kutaisi almost four weeks ago. The natives tell me that this is highly unusual. The temperature hovers right around 0 degrees Celsius, which means the snow is wet and melts extremely fast. It’s pretty for a day or two, then it turns to rain again, and that means mud…lots and lots of mud.
During a break in the snow, I ventured outside to take a few pictures of my neighborhood. In a couple of weeks, the weather will hopefully be warmer and things will look a lot different, but still, I thought it would be good to give you guys an idea of what this place looks like.
I live in the Avtokarkhana settlement, near the old Soviet auto factory. The apartments are about 50 years old, and haven’t been renovated much since then. It’s a poor neighborhood, but it’s comfortable enough, with all of the basic amenities like water and heating.
The roads are pretty nasty; they haven’t been repaved in decades, and the potholes are so deep you practically need a raft to get across the street. Most of the locals wear rubber boots during the rainy season, but I recently treated my boots with beeswax and that seems to be doing fairly well. Besides, after a while, you figure out where the stepping stones are, and then it’s not so bad.
Even though Kutaisi is a fairly large city, I get the feeling that there’s still a few lingering elements of the village mentality. How else would you explain all the free-range chickens that people still keep? The school is within walking distance, as are the stores where we buy our bread, and even though the pharmacy is a short drive away, I could probably walk there in fifteen or twenty minutes.
Because of the snow, I haven’t gotten out much in the past few weeks. I haven’t been stranded, though; there are about a dozen other TLG volunteers in the city, and we’ve had a few parties and get-togethers. Kutaisi is a small city, as far as cities go, but there are plenty of interesting places if you know where to look, and even in the dead of winter, it’s still quite pretty.
So yeah, that’s what my neighborhood is like. When the weather gets better, I’ll bring my camera to school and take some pictures of my school. I should also take some pictures of my host family’s apartment, come to think of it. What else do you guys want to see?