After a lot of studying, powerpoints, mafia, and a fair bit of pomp and circumstance, we’ve made it! All 25 volunteers have sworn in and been dispersed to our long term sites, where we’ll begin teaching in a week and a half. 

The most striking thing about my new village of Lubachev is its verticality. Imagine one of those roads in Northern Arizona or Colorado, switchbacking up a forested canyon. Now build a village in it out of concrete, cobblestones, and cinderblocks. That’s my new home. There’s one street that splits halfway up and straddles the gorge. There are no front yards, and the backs of three story houses and sturdy courtyard gates come right up to the street’s paving stones. Invisible in the back lie practical gardens and orchards, filled with veggies, grapevines, pear, apple, and peach trees, and sometimes horses. I haven’t yet found a perspective from which to take all this in, and from inside the village the main impression is mostly of climbing at a constant slant until the houses and cobbles simply stop, and it becomes a rutted forest road covered in running water and pebbles. 

I’m sitting on the balcony two and a half stories over the courtyard while someone rides up the golden hillside across the gorge and the call to prayer echoes through town. I’m living with a sweet older couple who currently have grown children visiting from Italy. I’ve been reading Sir Gibbie, both because it’s lovely, as well as because I find it reassuring to read English dialect I don’t quite understand.


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