Lagodekhi Day Trip

>> Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Georgian PCV invited Löki and myself to hop the border for a day with our Georgian counterparts. He lives right across the border in a region called Lagodekhi. He has a great organization and we were frankly just there for the original introductions. The meeting started and I was rendered useless as Nona and Löki's counterparts jumped right in and began talking in super speedy Noodle Language. When the meeting was over we went to the Azerbaijani Institute and gave a mini presentation on what Peace Corps is as a whole and Tom's environmental project. At the end of the meeting and presentation we had a mini stop in the town center. Here's the gang. Then we headed over to the restaurant where all the counterparts were really awesome and big hams for the camera.We of course had to get back across the border before nightfall. It was a great end to a great day. Nona learned so much and she's been able to bring some of the stuff she's learned with some people in Qax. Great opportunities, done!


Azerbaijan #1

That's right America's country code may be #1 but in the Eurovision competition Azerbaijan came out on top! There is a competition in country to choose the singers and then they ship on out to compete. The singers names are Eldar and Nigar but they go by Eli and Nikki. Good move.

Now that we've won, Baku will be creating a big arena to host the 2012 Eurovision and I will spend the next year of my life getting way too familiar with their song. I've already brought the song into my clubs for translation and am trying to get it done before I get annoyed. For now, good song...very few lyrics so it's easy to understand. Love it!


Making Qax more colorful

>> Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I have a big Spring Festival coming up and there are oh so many things that need preparing. Little visual aid things to accompany the many poems, songs and plays that my kids will perform. This means that pretty much anytime I'm home I'm drawing. If you've skyped me lately, I've probably been coloring at the same time. That's pretty normal as I'm constantly adding posters to my classroom but this impending festival has upped the production needed. I started getting really busy with drawing and it was cutting out the time I would have otherwise spent with friends out guesting. So I took this show on the road. I packed up my little case of markers, pens and crayons (thanks mom!) while carrying a roll of poster paper I began going to my houses again. Now I just pull out my paper and get to drawing. The best part is that I can draw the outlines and everyone colors it in for me. I had no idea that everyone here is just as excited to color as I am. So as opposed to working my butt off filling in a small child sized butterfly, I just pass out the crayons and watch people go crazy. Then we tape it up, cut it out and everyone admires the hard work. This is the great community work I do, I color. Then I spread the joy of coloring to adults that would otherwise consider it child's play. Woohoo!


Writing Olympics

>> Monday, May 2, 2011

Azerbaijan takes part in the Writing Olympics (WO) which is a really amazing way for PCV's to celebrate students creative English writing skills.

"Writing Olympics was created in 2003 by a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Georgia. The volunteer sought to give students an opportunity for creative self-expression and to practice their English skills. Azerbaijani students joined the Writing Olympics competition in 2005. The competition initially expanded to Caucasus countries and has since expanded to 11 Peace Corps countries across the globe. Writing Olympics takes place annually during a 3-day period. On these days, students have one hour to compose essays on selected creative writing prompts. The essays are then evaluated by a panel of judges for creativity, originality, and depth of thought."

At the end of March I held the WO at my school and had six students present. Luckily one of them placed. Not only did she place but she got 1st place in Azerbaijan! She has been working with PCV's for a few years now and she is not my student so much as she is a community member who has helped me out a lot with camp last year. She is very enthusiastic about learning English which is how she found me and how she was able to come in for one hour and write a really great essay. After receiving 1st place her essay was sent abroad and she won 2nd place! Congrats Mindy!The Azerbaijan WO will have a ceremony to congratulate all of the winners, giving prizes and certificates. Mindy will be heading to Baku to accept her 1st place prize sometime this summer. WO committee s created a grant that you can donate to:

Take a look and anytime you feel a little giving, head over to the Peace Corps PCPP website and you can find many different projects from PCV's all over the world to donate to. $5 is helpful as is $500, anything is appreciated.

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