TLG Staff Spotlight: Khatia Matkava, Health, Safety, and Support Assistant/Tbilisi Regional Representative

Posted on October 29, 2012 by

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Khatia joined TLG way back in Spring 2011.  With a BS in General Psychology and an MS in Social, Cultural, and Political Psychology from Tbilisi State University, Khatia is currently on her way to a PhD in Psychology.  As one of the three Tbilisi Regional Representatives and the second Health, Safety, and Support Assistant, Khatia works hard to make sure volunteers are well taken care of and healthy!

Khatia works with Keti and Maia to ensure that volunteers remain healthy. They also work to insure volunteers on a continuous basis! How’s that for a pun?

Khatia, what were you doing prior to working for TLG?

Before TLG I was working in a school as a psychologist for four years.  I was working with children and helping them with their school life or with any problems they were having.  Sometimes I helped them with personal problems, other times with problems in class.  I also gave recommendations to their teachers and parents based on my interaction with the students.

What are your responsibilities here at TLG?

I am working on the Health, Safety, and Support Team as an assistant.  Our responsibility is to work with our volunteers, to help them with any adaptation problems, inform them about prevention strategies, because, as you know, when the volunteers come to Georgia they have some adjustment period while they get used to this new environment.  Also, whenever volunteers have any kind of health issue we are keeping in touch with them, keeping in touch with their doctors, and trying to obtain and provide helpful information about their health.  Our main goal is to keep our volunteers healthy and happy.

What is your favorite aspect of the program?

I think that not only for me, but for all team members the best part of the program may be the academic parts.  All of us are working for this part to be successful.  We are always glad when we receive positive reports from the volunteers about their school and their students.  And it’s even better when the Georgian co-teachers and principals call us to mention some good things about their volunteers.  It makes us glad and then we think that our job is really good and important.

It’s going to be winter soon, so what’s the most important piece of health advice for the winter that you would give a volunteer?

For winter (laughs)  Okay, for winter you know the weather is changing from warm to cold, so be careful!  I know that our volunteers don’t like to wear warm clothes, they don’t dress warmly, so I can recommend that it’s better to wear warmer clothes.  Also, avoid unnecessary contact with crowds of people, but most importantly, if you have any health issue, at the first sign of symptoms, visit the doctor to avoid more serious complications.

As a psychologist, Khatia has greatly enjoyed meeting such a wide range of people during her time with TLG!

If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be and why?

Fruit?  I very, very much like peaches.  I eat one every day.  It’s very sweet and maybe full of vitamins too. (Pause)  I like its color, too, and everything! (laughs)

As one of the regional representatives for Tbilisi, what would you say are some of the best things about living in the city?

It’s easier to go from one place to another when you are in city than when you are in the regions.  And also I think lots more people in Tbilisi speak in English than in the villages.  So these are the best things about the city for volunteers, I think.

How has TLG impacted you personally and/or professionally?

Personally, I have had the chance to have a relationship with lots of different people with different personalities.  I have had the chance to know them, to observe them, and to study a lot of them by their behavior.  Professionally, we have a real chance to have contact with people who are from different cultures.  I have the chance compare different cultures from around the world and see how they are different and how they are similar to my own.  Oh!  And I also have improved my English skills!  I like this communication with native speakers quite a lot.

Excellent!  Last Question.  What is your favorite Style of Khatchapuri?

As I am Megrelian, I have to say megrelian!  I can’t say any other (laughs)!