Last weekend Jenny and I took a trip to Kazbegi situated in the mountains in the north-east of Georgia. After waking up to the most beautiful sunrise over Mount Kazbek for two mornings we felt refreshed and ready to tackle week four of the project. Escaping Tbilisi for the weekend also allowed us the time and space to reflect on the project so far. It felt quite poignant for me that I spent the day which marked the midpoint of my time in Georgia climbing up to the Gergeti Trinity Church situated at an elevation of 2170 metres.
The groups at the Special School 198 and the Parent’s Bridge Centre are now well and truly in full swing. Last week Jenny led the sessions to demonstrate some ways of working therapeutically with music, with the staff observing and supporting the students. It was great to see this different approach bringing out new reactions both in the students and the staff and encouraging some really wonderful interactions between different combinations of individuals in the group. The photos below from one of the groups at the school hopefully captures at least some of the spirit of the sessions.
Things are also going really positively at the Parent’s Bridge Centre although the format of the sessions still need a bit of tweaking. It has been tricky setting up the work here as it’s been hard to unravel and understand exactly what goes on already and to decide on the best way of working in this setting. The fact that lots of people seem to attend on some days but not others needs a more open and flexible approach than at the school, but I think we are finally getting there and there have been some magical moments mixed in with the slightly chaotic ones!
Jenny led the second staff training session at the school on Friday. There are six members of staff regularly attending these training sessions, half of whom work both at the school and at the Bridge Centre. It was great to hear the different staff members’ thoughts about the week and the presence of our very able translator, Eliso, allowed us to talk to the staff in much more depth about the sessions. We have been so impressed with how quickly and naturally the staff are adopting the new approach.
On Monday morning we went to school expecting that Jenny would still be leading the beginning and ending of the session and the staff just one activity each, but one of the teachers came in with a plan for the whole session and proceeded to lead the group confidently and already in her own style. We were so delighted!
In other news, we continue to be well-fed with khatchapuri and creamy cakes, well and truly baffled by the language, and continually welcomed by the generous Georgians we meet on our daily adventures around this intriguing city. In summary, all is well.
We look forward to seeing what the rest of this week brings…
Isabel and Jenny