In this section you will find photos of some of my very close and dear friends. The list is hardly comprehensive, these are photos of people I spent time with on this trip.
1 This is my very good friend Gigi. Gigi and I work for the Chemonics EMP project and he is the best partner one could ask for. It is amazing how in sync we are when it comes to the EMIS project with the MoES. Gigi does all of the heavy lifting when I am not in Georgia and without him I could not do half the things I am able to do for this project. I truly enjoy working with him and he certainly takes care of me when I am in Tbilisi. Phone issues, translating for my driver, taking me to get stuff; he does it all.
2 This is my dear, dear friend Badri. We met during the Georgian Study Group Tour back in June 2010 and we've become very close friends since. He, his wife Natia, his kids Nia and Luka have treated me like family and I am so thankful to count Badri as a close friend.
3 This is my dear young friend Tamuna. She is so incredibly smart and talented. How she does it all, employee, mother, wife, etc. is beyond me. I am very fond of her and I expect that one day I will be able to get her to understand my jokes. They really are good and funny jokes, but I just can't seem to convince her of this....
4 These two characters are Dato, on the left and Berika on the right. I met Dato during the Georgian Study Group Tour in 2010 and he and I became fast friends. He is the principal of Tbilisi School 51, considered Georgia's best high school, and he is also an accomplished margarita maker. We joke about opening a bar together someday. Berika is like a brother to me. He and his family have been wonderful to me and I truly look forward to my time with him.
5 This is Ela. Ela is married to Berika and is an incredibly good cook. She always invites me to her home and feeds me some incredibly tasty meals. I never leave hungry. She is a very nice person to boot and I enjoy our conversations about kids, and life in general.
6 These two young princesses are Berika's daughters. They are truly sweet and they absolutely adore their father; it is wonderful to see.
7 This photo was taken after Nia's riding lesson. We went to a restaurant not far from the stables and had a fantastic meal. Badri is on the left and Natia, his wife, is on the right. It was fun to watch them talk about what we would eat this evening. The lady in the middle was writing like crazy trying to get everything down correctly.
8 The evening was really, really cold! Nia, Luka and Natia are trying to stay warm by the fire. It was not long before Luka was throwing whatever wasn't nailed down into the fire. He is so full of life that I find myself envious.
9 Nia. In May of this year Nia started English lessons. On this trip she and I were able to converse with hardly any problems. What I would not give to be able to learn Georgian as easily as she is learning English.