Thursday, March 17, 2016

Introduction to Akhaltsikhe

I had a wonderful welcome to Akhaltsikhe. Our host teacher Lela was awesome. She met us at the hotel and we walked over to her school. The students were all buzzing with excitement when we walked into the building. There were a lot of big smiles on their faces. We visited with the director of the school, visited some of the classrooms, and watched a dance class. After the tour, we went back to our hotel room and had lunch. We then went on a quick visit to Rabati Castle. (We will be visiting Rabati Castle tomorrow to get the full tour and for dinner). Afterwards, we had a nice chat with Lela about education, her experiences, the fact she know four languages, Georgian, Russia, English, and Ukranian. Her daughter is a high school exchange student in Texas. The conversation then turned to the importance of travel and coming back to you homeland to help improve it.

We also talked at length about women's role in Georgain society. In Georgia, the cultural expectation is that women serve the men, stay at home, cook, and clean etc. This expectation is beginning to change in society and Lela is a great example of someone who has bucked the trend.

Milton Bear at Rabati Castle. He is looking forward to visiting the school tomorrow.

The Dancers:


Lela in her 8th Grade classroom. The students stay in the same room and teachers move to different rooms.
The school's entrance.

Dance students.

The American Corner
Queen Tamara

View from the castle. I love the mountains.
Wendy, Lela, and Me at Rabati

Georgians love their cakes and I do too.


  1. You've mentioned a couple times that the expectation is that women will follow a more traditional domestic role rather than pursue STEM careers or other options - for women who do follow non-traditional paths, is the expectation that they will also maintain the traditional homemaker role concurrently? For example, in the US, the expectation still seems to be that if a woman pursues a STEM career (or any other career for that matter), she will also still raise a family. The blog is awesome, BTW

  2. Thank you. Today I had the realization that the women's role is very similar to the Latin American Machismo culture, that has certainly changed in the last 25 years. The cultural expectation is that women get university educated (a hold over from the Soviet Era) and then return to the home to raise a family, cook for the family, and be obedient to the patriarch of the family. This a very family orientated culture where the wishes of the family come before any individual pursuits. Girls/Women are not suppose to date until marriage. While there are not arranged marriages per say, they are not suppose to have contact with men until they are ready for marriage. Again bear in mind this me piecing together my own observations and conversations I have had with various people.