Marneuli Memory

Two of my favorite memories from Peace Corps come from kids who don’t barely reach my elbow.  And having just found their photos again, I had to share.

It was after the war and we were canvassing the schools, asking administrators if they’d like to take part in a donation drive for the refugee children, who lacked school supplies for the starting year as well as winter clothes.

One particularly wonderful director led us through her school, going classroom by classroom, introducing me and the teen volunteer who had come to solicit their aid. So’s you can see this in your mind’s eye, I ask you to imagine the below conversation between a can-do matron type and a piping little-voiced child.

The school mistress steps into a classroom and the children rise. “Do you know why we’re here today?”  Word has gotten around that an American is at the school, and all eyes are torn between gazing at their director and at me.

“Yes,” one finally says shyly.


“Because of the war.”

“That’s right. And what do we want to do?”

“To collect clothes and food and school supplies.”

“That’s right. And for whom?”

“For American children.”

🙂 That dear child.

Then the memory that I can share in the form of a picture.  Again, our director has marched into a classroom, and all eyes are on us.  She’s not even finished her introduction; she’s just mentioned how sad it is, we all agree, that refugee children right now have no homes and no pencils or pens to do their schoolwork with.

And then, mid-sentence, mid-word, the cutest angel of a child, moved to action by his dear heart’s compassion, does this:

angels in Marneuli


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
This entry was posted in Marneuli, Marneuli schools, refugee aid, Republic of Georgia and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Marneuli Memory

  1. ralfast says:

    Children. Wonderful, wondrous children.

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