We are now Peace Corps Volunteers. We swore-in on July 18th in Tbilisi at a nice ceremony followed by Georgian cultural songs and dances. Immediately afterward, we found our bags and headed to Kutaisi. But first, we needed to find a marshutka willing to take us and our bags (and extra stuff from Peace Corps like water filters). While most marshutka drivers refused to accept anything less than 100 GEL for the two of us (and stuff) we were given about 25 GEL for the trip.
My supervisor and our future host dad used negotiating skills and finally found a driver who agreed to take us for what we had. He drove-up to our luggage and began placing it in his–wait for it–air conditioned van! Our biggest bag probably weighed close to 80 pounds and he easily hoisted it onto the luggage rack. The ride was glorious, except for one passenger who seemed to be complaining that we were not charged more. (She only spoke in Georgian, so we just guessed from the words we recognized and her body language.) The driver responded to her with something like… are you not a Christian? do you have no heart?
Later, when she fell asleep the driver spoke to her husband about the American Peace Corps Volunteers in the back of the van. Hours later, he unloaded our luggage right outside the apartment. When I thanked him by saying, “didi madloba,” he responded by putting his hand over his heart and doing a small bow. There truly are good people here.