Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sunflower Seads, Ballgames, & Cleaning Up

This was a nice shot of a speed sign in Samegrelo that I found highly amusing

Georgians love sunflower seeds. There is not a place in this country—except for the churches—in which Georgians won’t find a way to chew on a couple seeds. You can buy them at any busy street corner in the country, usually from some hunchbacked Bebia (grandma) selling cigarettes, seeds, and possibly condoms. It kind of gives you the feeling that you’re constantly at all a ballgame; you know… if they sold cigarettes and condoms at sporting events.

Another aspect of Georgian culture that makes you feel as if you could be at Fenway or Wrigley: the women selling warm khatchapuri and lobiani from a tray they carry through the bazaars, all the while calling out the names of their product. It gets me every time, sending a slight nostalgic reminder of the ‘Lemonade Here’ guy at PNC Park. But let me tell you something, nothing hits the spot like a warm khabizgina (bread baked with potatoes and cheese) while trying to squeeze your way past haggling Georgians.

I digress; back to sunflower seeds. When outside, people just drop their shells on the ground leaving a nice Hansel and Gretel trail wherever they may be going. But if they are indoors, usually they will collect them in their hands for when they next hit the outdoors. Although that doesn’t mean the marshrutka floors aren’t cluttered with the seeds of former passengers.

The worst are the students at my school, who will sit in class, eat them at a non-stop pace, and drop the remains on the already dirty floor. I’ve tried my best to put a stop to it (especially in Tamari’s own classroom), but it’s kind of hard when the school actually sells them in our own tuck shop (a small room that sells pens, notebooks, lollipops, bread, and of course, packets of seeds).

But the students don’t really care at all about the school because there is no accountability. Every evening, a woman goes through the entire school and sweeps the place clean (side note: can’t they make brooms with longer handles for the women here? There’s a reason any woman over seventy is hunched over walking with a cane, and it’s because their brooms are the size of most people’s dust brooms).

So what’s the problem with dirtying the school if someone else is going to come through it every night to clean? What a wonderful message they’re sending to the youths of Georgia: Drop your garbage wherever. Someone else will clean it up for you. Maybe that’s the reason why the roadsides are cluttered with trash and there isn’t one public garbage can or dumpster within a ten kilometer radius of my village. But really, who doesn’t like the smell of burning garbage that constantly wafts through the air of Samegrelo?

I’d like to talk to my director about organizing a once a week crew made up of students that would help with cleaning. Although I feel like I might get a response along the lines of Why? That’s what we have the cleaning lady for. Another motto for Georgia: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if it is broke, just put some tape on it.

Editor’s note: In true Georgian fashion, I don’t know what’s wrong with the Blog and why it looks this way, but until I get some overwhelming complaints or the problem doesn’t right itself, then I’m not going to do anything. This place is getting to me.


  1. Good post, sad but true, we fail to genuinely appreciate our nature and environment, don't hesitate though to encourage people around to keep environment clean, it might not be effective initially but I'm sure it will work in time.

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