Dear Friends and Family,
It's been three months since I left for the Republic of Georgia and needless to say, a lot has happened.
Starting on August 11, the Russian Federation moved troops into South Ossetia to "protect" Russian citizens living in the region. Within hours, Russia began bombing key military and civilian targets in Georgia. One of these targets was the city of Gori, located 20 km north of my village. When the bombing did not stop my fellow volunteers and I fled to the small mountain village of Bakuriani. There, all Peace Corps volunteers and key staff waited for further directions for three days.
Then Russian tanks and troops moved beyond the borders of South Ossetia and took control of most of central Georgia. All Peace Corps volunteers took an eight hour bus ride to a remote border check point with Armenia. After obtaining temporary visas, we travelled another five hours to a small town near the Armenian capital, Yerevan, where we are currently located.
These past two weeks have been the most stressful of my life. Complete uncertainty and ambiguity about the future of Georgia, my host family's safety and my future constantly occupy my mind. It's hard to make plans when everything is in such flux. Some volunteers are making preparations to go back to Georgia as private citizens. I don't see this as an option for myself. All major cities except for the capital have been bombed. The closest city to my village (Khashuri) is still occupied by seven Russian tanks. The only other options, beyond going to Georgia, are to completely reapply to the Peace Corps or go home.
The reapplication process and placement in a new country would take about nine months. Before Georgia, I wasted seven months working a dead-end job, waiting for an assignment. I struggle with whether it is worth reapplying and waiting almost an entire year just for the
chance at another country.
The other option is to go back home. There I would work for a while then enroll in a language school abroad (most likely in the Czech Republic) and become CELTA certified. Then I would teach English professionally in Europe and eventually earn my master's in Education.
....Peace Corps will always be an option for me, but perhaps now is not the right time.
Beyond, just writing to give you all an update on my situation, I also want to thank everyone for their concern. As I said before, this has been an extremely difficult situation for me. Your support has helped me keep grounded during a time when I needed it.
Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia is shutting down for at least a year. They are sending all of the volunteers home in two weeks. Hopefully I will see some of you soon.