With a degree in pediatrics and a Master’s in Healthcare and Health Management, Keti has been with TLG since September 2010. This August Keti returned to TLG from maternity leave after having the very first TLG Baby!
Keti, what were you doing prior to working for TLG?
I was a junior doctor, then a pharmacist, a pharmacy manager, a pharmacy relations manager (pause) and then I started working here.
And how did you get involved with TLG?
You know, when they started this program they needed a medical person for training and (pause) do you remember [Former TLG Training Coordinator] Nino Dzotsenidze?
She and Tatia called me and asked me to join the project.
What are your responsibilities at TLG?
At first I was helping Nino with some medical stuff at training and also some insurance stuff and it—we were doing everything for our volunteers at training. Now my responsibilities include working with and reviewing new applicants and also helping volunteers during orientation training when they want to do their medical check and helping volunteers when they need to see a doctor. We accompany them to the doctor’s when we can and we help analyze the results of any medical exams. We also help with communication with the insurance company or doctors or pharmacists. Oh! And we help with the selection process and give our medical recommendations to the Non-Academic Team for placing volunteers. Like if they have some allergies or other medical conditions, we help recommend a suitable part of Georgia for them!
Okay, and what is a typical work day like?
You know (pause) we do not have a schedule because sometimes we have emergencies that we cannot plan for.
What is your favorite part of TLG?
(Laughs) I mean as a program!
Did you mean from the volunteers’ point of view?
(Pause) They get to meet our country and our culture and also, as you know, we have a small country but we have everything here. We have mountains, the sea; we have a very beautiful country it’s good that foreign people are coming and getting to know Georgia! Oh! And also, excuse me, from another perspective I will also say that when I started to work for TLG, I only knew two words: “yes” and “no”. After two years now, I think that I have more experience. My English is getting much better and I think I am a good example for this project: How you can learn English.
Ooh, I like that! Okay, what is the single most important piece of health advice that you would give to a new volunteer? Just one.
Just one? (Pause) Taking care of themselves.
Because, as you know, here there is a different climate, different food, different water and different everything for our volunteers. When they get here they have lots of problems because everything is different and it helps to be extra careful and to take care of themselves.
Can you tell me what your fondest TLG-related memory is?
Okay, TLG made a big surprise for me and this is a very good chance for me to say “Thanks” to all the TLG staff! You know, when I was leaving for Maternity Leave, I came into our office and there was a surprise! There was a big pink box and a pink bow and a cake and it was really good and I want to say, again, thank you all TLG members! It was a surprise baby shower! The box was a present–a brand new baby carriage!
That’s wonderful! How do you like being a new mother?
Oh. (laughs) I like it! You know, I think that–(pause) When you have a child you have a—how can I say this? A purpose! Yes, you know what you are living for. I have always liked caring for people, and now I have my child and while I can also take care of other people, I have my child who needs me most of all and it’s good.
So what are the best and worst parts about having a baby?
I already told you about the best parts. But worst? (Pause) I think there are only the best parts! (Laughs)
If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be and why?
Uh (pause) Okay. (Laughs) I thought maybe you would ask me question about medicine, but not a fruit! Maybe an apple? Because apples are good for your health!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
How has TLG changed since you started working?
Oh! It’s now absolutely different. Because, we started out with only 3 people on staff or actually 5 or 6, but now everything is organized and everything is much better for us and for volunteers. Everything changed! Everything.
What is your favorite style of Khatchapuri?
Imeruli. Because I am from Imereti. Whispering Well, I like megruli, but I said imeruli because I am from Imereti.
Okay. That’s it! Thank you very much!
Thank you, Raughley!