A Very Village Victory Day

Posted on May 16, 2012 by

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Life moves slower in the village.  There’s little sense of urgency and a great appreciation for the little things.  People are less high-strung and they seem to enjoy each other’s company more.  They stop and smell the flowers and take time to relax.  There’s a much greater sense of community.  That’s what made the Mukhrani Public School N1’s Victory Day pageantry all the more enjoyable!

Mukhrani is a small town about ten minutes outside of Mtskheta and 35 or 40 outside of Tbilisi.  There’s a sleepy feel to it, but at the same time it’s not too far from the hustle and bustle of the big city.  As the former home of the Bagrationi-Mukhrani branch of the Georgian royal family, Mukhrani boasts several large, significant churches and the remains of the Bagrationi Palace.

TLG Volunteer Jason Brandon has lived in Mukhrani for almost two years. Here he is describing a bit of the history of Mukhrani and showing off his school’s model of the palace.

On May 9th, Victory Day, the largest school in town performed a presentation about the history and significance of the holiday.  Jason invited a half dozen of his TLG friends to come enjoy the pageant at his school.  As we walked from his house to the school, Jason exchanged “Gamarjobat”s with everyone we passed.  Everyone responded with a hearty “Gamarjoba, Jason!  Rogora khar?”  After engaging in some brief banter in Georgian, Jason would move on to the next person we encountered, always smiling and eliciting smiles.

We arrived at his school to a chorus of “Hello!”s from teachers and students alike.  Students ran up to hug Jason and Teachers planted fat kisses on his cheeks.  Mukhrani’s largest school had recently been the subject of an extensive renovation that left the interior beautifully tiled and very modern looking.  After our brief tour, we waited outside in the shade as the students flitted about making final preparations and adjustments.

The Victory Day pageant opened with a brief speech from Jason’s director and a pair of stirring Soviet Broadcasts from the end of the Second World War.

Listening to the Soviet broadcaster read out the details of the German surrender in Russian while standing in a school yard was quite the time warp. Occasionally the broadcaster made repeat appearances during the pageant, but it was more a chance to showcase Georgian poetry, song, and dance.

The students took turns reciting poems and reading from the diaries of Georgian Soldiers in the Red Army.

The students translated their passion for poetry into all of the readings they performed. Many of the presentations were poetic, but some were straight journal entries. All got an excellent dramatic treatment.

The students sang quite well, too!

Students from every grade participated. The entire school was involved and the entire community gathered to watch.

The dancing was a quite excellent break from the recitations and the girls danced very well.

Georgian Dancing continued to the music emanating from the stereo system on the table in the background.

The recital ended with a traditional Georgian song played on a panduri by an older student as three girls sang along.

The afternoon ended and as we applauded the school director thanked the audience and began walking toward us.  She reached out and grabbed Jason by the arm asking “our guest” to say some words about the day.  The entire crowd cheered as Jason stepped up to the table, reddening with embarrassment.  One of the older students joined him to act as translator.

Jason gave a very nice improvised speech thanking his community for their generosity and kindness. He pointed out that Victory Day was a common holiday for the whole world and he thanked Georgia for its sacrifices during the War.

And THAT was how we celebrated Victory Day.

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