Typical day in a Georgian/Armenian NGO: Grant Chasing
By guest columnist Mike Shvartsman (who works in an Armenian minority community organization)
Me: Privet, Ararat. Kak Dela? (English translation: Hey Ararat, how’s it going?)
Director Ararat: Ne chevo. (Fine.)
Director: Mike, we need to start working on another grant. Let’s begin thinking of ideas at the end of the month.
Me: But Ararat!! I just finished my 3rd grant this month, and I told you, we need to start thinking of other ways to raise money. In June, I will be holding a training with another volunteer where we will explore our options!
Director: Yes, I know Mike, but in August our current grant will end and we will be out of money! Then, I will have to go to Russia to work and you will have be out of a job.
Me: Ararat, we have several grants currently under review! Why do you always have to think of the worst possibility?!
Director: Because, I know the reality. You will see, soon we will be out of money.
Me: And you will also see Ararat. After training, I expect us to move past the “just apply for grants” process.
Ararat: Fine, we will see.
Mike: Yes, you will see.
…Next day at work
Director: Mike, we need to start on a new grant. Do you have any ideas?
…Text from my Polish volunteers: “Dude Sarah, thanks for teaching us those bad words last night! Now I understand American movies. Also can I have some of your diarrhea medicine?”
…Monthly electricity bill: 4 GEL ($2.50)
…Level of excitement when I get more than like 2 comments on any facebook post: My life. is. complete.
…Level of excitement when my friends back home get promoted in their real jobs, eat real food, or actually remember how to drive a car: My life is worthless.
…Way to deal with no light in my bathroom during a shower: Light some candles and pretend it’s romantic and/or intentional
…Thoughts about upcoming out-of-country vacations: If it’s mine – total detachment from reality due to euphoria. If it’s another PCV’s – they probably won’t come back. If it’s someone in America WILLINGLY LEAVING AMERICA – dude you cray cray!
…Daily water flow schedule in my apartment: 6am-10am, 6pm-10pm. Unless it’s raining.
Typical Offhand Conversation Between Slightly Jaded PCVs
Girl, who may or may not be named Kaela: Have you ever heard a Georgian fart?
Boy (Ryan): Dude no.
Girl: Maybe they are just really good at the silent killers.
Boy: We wouldn’t even know, because it would be covered up by their incredible B.O.
Typical Consecutive Diary Entries
“The Funk”, from June 4 2013
Truth be told, we’ve been here over a year. I guess it’s only natural that I would be in a good old fashioned funk. Maybe it was my birthday that set off this series of internal questioning like, what is happening (but in a scarily serious way–WHAT IS HAPPENING). Maybe it’s the stress of trying to plan out my future yet I’m spinning my wheels in the omnipresent mud over here. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Seinfeld where they heedlessly order roast beef on rye at the cafe like it ain’t no thang. Orrrr maybe I’ve just been in this FREAKING COUNTRY FOR A YEAR OF MY MEANINGLESS, VAPID LIFE.
“Khatchapuri!”, from June 6 2013
Today I had the best khatchapuri ever!!!!!!! They put cheese on top, too!!!! I’M SO HAPPY I’M GOING TO DIE!!!!
[Now you see why PC is an emotional roller coaster]