A society to learn from

Sitting in a cool Georgian Youth for Europe office, which is located in Rustavi city, Georgia. Outside temperature is +37 degrees and it’s not even a maximum. I have always loved rain and thunderstorm, but in Georgia my passion has reached apogaea point, because I’m happy when shows up the smallest chance that it’s going to be bleak weather.


A usual day in Georgia is when your way crosses a turtle, but car noises (apartment, where I live, is located 2 meters from the road) compete with cicadas. In Latvia we can hear grasshoppers that chirp inconspicuously, takes pauses, rather quietly and gets braver, approaching the evening. Literally - you can enjoy silence. Here it's the opposite - insects are very active during the hot day and despite the fact that most windows are protected by an insect screen, there is no warranty that you will avoid them. How about getting to know a huge bege carob in February? February in Rustavi is like april in Latvia’s capital,although it cannot be said that Georgia does not have a seasonal change, simply a snowy winter experiences mountainous regions where it manifests itself in full force, fascinates and dominates over people, obstructs roads and villages for a long time and separates them from the rest of society. 

But for now it’s summer! Heat’s biggest plus is that volunteers drink a lot of water, probably more than ever in their lives and as a “side effect” sweats. Through skin the body releases excess, poisonous, recovers and gets more beautiful. Sometimes one can even forget about the usual food or about food at all.For example, I spent two days in Batumi and ate 3 bananas not because I didn’t have an appetite, but to reduce the weight of my backpack. Now is a very good time - fruit, berries and local vegetable time, that can be bought very cheaply compared to the usual European prices. For example, last time I bought tomatoes for 80 tetri, which is 25 euro cents, peaches for 1 lari, which is 31 euro cents, enormous parsley, basil, spring onion bundles each for 20 tetri - it is 6 euro cents for each. Amazing, right? Through office’s window leans in fig tree branches, bet in front of the entrance, in a small tree grenades are growing. 


Many habits have to be revisited while traveling. Have to take only the most necessary, the easiest, the most useful, the most versatile, which doesn’t take up much space. For example, I always take with me big, thin scarves, which are excellent at holding cold, which can be used directly - covering your head, wrapping around your neck, shoulders (it is always cool in the evenings), wrapping around your hips as a skirt (protects your legs from freezing) and at night turning into blankets for sleeping in tents. Each volunteer has their own room, own space, where to stay alone, but, in my opinion, the real loneliness is experienced only while traveling, when there is no internet or acquaintances around you, previously known places for sleeping and resting. These moments in nature creates positive stress and submerge a human into their inner world, triggers dormant and not fully acknowledged resources, teaches to rely on universe and its signs.

In Georgia is peace - despite ongoing rallies at Tbilisi Parliament. 

This society in general isn’t insensible , ready to help, smiley and curious. A society to learn from. 

Mārīte Beitāne

Strategic EVS project “Corners of Europe” is financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union that in Latvia is administrated by Agency for International Programs for Youth.
This publication reflects only the viewpoint of the author.