Kazbegi (Stepantsminda)

Kazbegi

10th – 11th January

Kazbegi or Stepantsminda is a small town in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region of north-eastern Georgia.

Stepantsiminda is known for its scenic location in the Greater Caucasus mountains, and is a center for trekkers and mountain climbing.

Local attractions include the Kazbegi Museum and Ethnographic Museum in town, and the Gergeti Trinity Church outside of town, as well as Mount Kazbegi itself and the alpine meadows and forests of the surrounding Kazbegi Nature Reserve.

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One-Week-Trip

3rd – 10th January:
As a group of five volunteer friends, we travelled to eight different cities or towns.
Our first stop was Borjomi, which is a resort town in south-central Georgia.It is one of the districts of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and is situated in the northwestern part of the region in the Borjomi Gorge on the eastern edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. The town is famous for it’s mineral water industry and the World Wide Fund for Nature-site Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park.
Unfortunately, during the winter months it is not possible to visit and hike in the National Park.
We could at least have a look on the three natural „hot springs“ ( in the winter they are less hot) filled with the famous Borjomi water and hike in the mountains around these springs, which was refreshing.

After one night in a nice guesthouse with very nice hosts, we continued our trip to Akhalzikhe, which literally means “new castle“. We had a hostel next to the new castle, which was beautiful and cold. After visiting the castle we took some wine, bread and cheese and celebrated our first two days in the hotel our upcoming trip to turkey…

The next day started well. We had a marshutka to the turkish border. Its driver played travel music and practiced English and tought us Georgian!
At the turkish border, we found a group of turkish workers, who took us to Possof, a small village in the mountains. They provided lunch packages for us and were very nice! After some selfies we shortly visited Possof.
Unfortunately we had to take a Taxi to Artvin, our next destination. The trip was beautiful anyway, although two or three interruptions of the turkish police, who checked our passports (in the middle of nowhere).

Finally, arrived in Artvin, a group police officers guided us to the police office to check our passports again. They apparently thought we were demonstrators as a demonstration should take place the day after. They asked us questions, took photos of our passports and finally booked us a bus to Trabzon (our next destination for the day after) for the same night. SO we spend our day in cars, a taxi and a bus..

One of us had to go back to Georgia the next day. So we decided to go back to Georgia together. At least, we had a delicious turkish brunch in the morning.

We crossed the border, this time on the Black seaside and entered Batumi. As we all felt like washing the last day away, we went inside the black sea! With a outside temperature of 16 degrees, it felt like summer.
We found a very nice and cheap hostel in the city center (Calypso) and decided to stay two nights. Borjomi is a very touristic place and we all find it a bit artificial.
Fortunately, we got to know a very nice german couple, who travel around with there minibus. We invited them to visit us in Rustavi…

Due to a nice night at the beach, a small party in a local’s place and good food in a restaurant we got a lot of nice memories of Batumi.

Our next stop was Ozurgeti, the capital of the western Georgian province of Guria. The city center is composed by a Georgian-orthodox church, a city theater and a park.

On the next and last day, we went to Kobuleti.
Kobuleti is a town in Adjara, western Georgia, situated on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. It is a seaside resort, and a lot of Georgians spend their summer holidays there.

It was a trip full of experiences. Good and bad ones. 

In the end we were all looking forward to sleep in our beds again! 

Handicraft-Club

Every tuesday, there are 6 to 10 wild children attending the handicraft club. They are around 6-8 years old and are curious about doing creative work.

We are most of the time working with paper, sissors, glue, tape, carton or/ and twine. We often do Origami, where we only use paper.

As the children doesn’t have art lesson at school, the handicraft club is a nice and good chance to lead young children to creative work. It is quite easy to see, that the children have a lot of fun during the club session, and when they finished one handicraft, they immediately want to continue with another one! 

It is planned to do another club, probably knitting club or art club, because of the high demand of attendants. 🙂 

German Club

Siqa’s German Club runs quite well! 

Usually there are at least five 10th grade students coming. Most of them doesn’t have the opportunity to learn German at school. That’s why they are very motivated to learn the German Grammar and vocabulary. For Annika, Hika and me, it is something new to take over the teaching  part, because for example in the English Club it is more usual that the attendants have at least a ground knowledge of the language.

We already have experienced, that we need to create a relaxed but at the same time serious atmosphere, to keep the students motivated, as working in the organisation still is based on informal learning.