Post Easter Celebrations!!

Am feeling a bit flat today, and also really tired after my first day back to school following the 6 day break. Half of every class were still missing, so I guess they will enjoy a few more days break, and many have gone back to their family’s village! Was not a bad day at school by any means, and I still get excited to see my kids watching the ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ film. They seem to really enjoy it, and we have also been learning about Roald Dahl’s life and watching videos from behind the scenes. I think the kids are really surprised by just how many people work on film productions, and how much work is needed to make just a few seconds of film.

We have one more lesson of watching the film, and then we will start to learn the script and to make our own film. Was a surprise really, as the kids were so distracted by excitement of making their own films, that they couldn’t concentrate fully on watching the film itself!!

In my other classes, I couldn’t help but get excited, and to come up with ideas for the next term, and all the cool stuff we can do potentially. But, then it stressed me out at the thought of not having the chance to renew my contract, and I really just want to know one way or the other about what lies ahead for me. To be honest, I think that if I didn’t get my contract renewed, I would probably quit teaching straight off, because it would be awful to go into school and to know that I won’t be working with these kids next term.

I am still loving being in Georgia, but at the same time, I have the constant nagging feeling that I am totally deluding myself and that I am just being used, and can be dropped on a whim. Its so disheartening. Especially as I am moving my entire life here and the longer I stay, the harder it will be to say goodbye and to leave. Part of me still just thinks I should go back to the UK, but part of me also has high hopes for a future life in Georgia. But I feel I can commit no further until I know whether or not I have a contract lined up. Its a difficult time, and always leaves me feeling insecure. It seems to be a theme with the programme unfortunately, and it kind of knocks out a lot of the good things that are being done.

It is still an amazing thing to be involved with, but I sometimes think that the Ministry does not fully understand just how much trust we are putting in them. For example, you apply to be a teacher, and wait, you pay out money in advance for criminal and credit history checks and you have to give your blood to make sure that you don’t have any nasty infections to contaminate the people. You have no idea, where you will be staying when you arrive, or what to expect. You spend a week in a bubble during orientation training, and then you get taken to a totally new region, having never really left the comfort of the hotel since you arrived! In my case, this was a 4 hour marshrutka (mini van) ride to a region I couldn’t even pronounce! I had no idea about the family I would be living with for the next 12 months. Would they smoke or not? How many people would there be? Would I live with small children, adults, or no children? What would my room and bed be like? What would the food and toilet be like? How far away would I be from my friends? Would there be internet, or could I top up my phone? What would school be like? What would I do if I didn’t like it, or who would I speak to?? These were all scary unknowns, especially given that I didn’t understand the language and had no idea how I would get back to the city. I also had no money since we wouldn’t be paid for a whole month, so even if I didn’t like it, I would be trapped. Scary shit really!!

In return, I had given up my home comforts. My shower, electricity, food, my health, my freedom, my independence, etc. What was I getting out of it? Money…..?? No, not really. CV boost??….no, not really. Travel??…no, not really. I am still not entirely sure what I am getting out of this programme to be honest, but what I have gained has been totally and utterly unexpected, and has had a massive hold over me. I certainly never expected to be homesick when I went back to the UK over Christmas, that is for sure! Homesick, despite the fact that we had no electricity most of my time there, we had no water, and I had bad diarrhoea. Our toilet was full with excrement from the whole family, because we had no water to flush it away, and the toilet was blocked by the horrible, rough, Georgian style toilet paper that many families use (thankfully not my current family!). I was on a crappy diet by western standards, and was sick every time I ate. I couldn’t wash my hands, I was cold most of the time, and I missed by dog. Yet, the family were the warmest people I have ever met, and I felt very strange when I went back to the UK, where the people suddenly felt very cold. How can a person be homesick for the first time in their life when they are living in conditions, that are just so different from what they are used to?? Even now, I still miss really miss living with them, and its always emotional to speak with them on the phone.


About Sarah Rows Solo

British YouTuber and Founder of Environmental and STEM education charity Oceans Project, preparing for a solo row around the coast of Great Britain.
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