we all Need Friends


Georgia is a nation in recovery…recovery from the Soviet era, and post-Soviet problems. It has been awhile: the Iron Curtain fell in 1990, Georgia joined the exodus in 1991, and it was another 10 years before chaos and corruption were brought under control. Societal change is generational, at least. It will take a few to shed the effects of that time.

I spoke with some of my Georgian co-workers and friends to get their impressions. Some reminiscences of the Soviet era are of the easy times, all memories of the 10-year interval were of the bad times, some seem to be a denial. Read on as I tell their stories, not as individuals, but as a collective memory. Continue reading “we all Need Friends”

we all Create


When we (the ‘we’ of the RPCVs of Madison) began working on the ‘we all Create’ Poster back in 2008, we were thinking of the creations of art and beauty. But here in Georgia, I had the opportunity to create something in nature, in a place of existing intense beauty. It seemed a presumption to go to this place: could I be part of a project to make nature better?? But it happened – I was part of a “create.” Continue reading “we all Create”

we all Work

Rioni River from the White Bridge in Kutaisi, Georgia. My office is a few blocks offscreen to the left.

The Peace Corps Mission: To promote world peace and friendship.

That mission statement is the simplest and one of the more meaningful statements I’ve ever come across. It hasn’t been modified in 55 years…no need to! It says it all, to us peacemongers.

As I discovered during my service in Ghana, questions from friends and family quickly move beyond “what do you eat?” and “what’s the weather like?” into “just what DO you do there?” For my friends who follow me on Facebook, you may already have a fair idea. But this is for the rest of you!


Continue reading “we all Work”

we all Celebrate


we all celebrate

 When I was in Peace Corps Ghana (2004-2007), there was a dance called the high life that was popularized at the turn of the 20th century and is still popular.  The term was coined in the 1920s and referred to the high-class dance evenings fashionable among the Ghanaian elite, especially after independence in 1956. If you danced well, or if the guests wanted to honor you, women would take their handkerchiefs and wave them over the top of your head while you danced. In Ghana, I danced the high life. I never would have guessed that my first significant impression of Peace Corps Georgia would be that I was living the high life. Continue reading “we all Celebrate”