This trip was at least a year in the making. The fifteen Delegates who completed the trip returned home far richer than when they left. No matter how many books we read or films we saw, no matter how many emails any one of us exchanged with people in Georgia and Armenia before we left, we all returned home amazed and inspired.
Each of the traveling Delegates was assigned a counterpart before she left on the trip. The obligation was to establish contact and, hopefully, a relationship with a woman from either Georgia or Armenia. In addition, each of the Delegates who went was assigned a day during which she would act as recorder. What follows is a “summary” of those daily notes. It is from those notes and from being among the Delegates on this trip that I can assure you each traveler came home changed. Each set of notes reflects an enormous respect and sense of awe of the women we met who were engaged in working on behalf of their fellow countrywomen and shaping the future of their countries in the process.
We spent eight full days in Georgia, four full days in Armenia, and a day traveling between the two countries. Our journey began in Tblisi, the capital of The Republic of Georgia. The first event of our trip was, fittingly, a fabulous lunch. The wealth of the dishes served was reflective of every single meal given us during our entire stay. The vegetables tasted like they had been sitting in a sunny garden just minutes before. Fresh herbs were not added by the pinch but by the handful. Walnuts were used in every conceivable way in many dishes throughout the meal.
Pomegranates were used spectacularly. I will not go on at length about the meals offered us in the rest of this summary. I will simply say they were all amazingly generous and delicious. I will also say here that all of the Delegates met many women with whom they made more than casual connections. The work and ideals represented by the women we met inspired us all. Contact information was exchanged along with many wishes to stay in touch and continue to jointly pursue goals to further that work.
After lunch on our first day, we walked through the city of Tblisi. It is a very beautiful city with sections dating from the fourth century and other sections where high-rise developments are in process. The river Katavi River, the longest river south of the Caucasus (1,000 miles long), bisects the city. We walked across the beautiful glass Peace Bridge.
We walked a short distance to the entrance for the cable cars which would take us to the top of the surrounding hills.
From the top, we had spectacular views of the city and had our closest view of Mother Georgia. She stands over the city with a sword in one hand, for those who come to Georgia to fight, and a bowl of food in the other hand for those who come in peace. As we walked the hill overlooking the city, we could see the red roofs of the old city, now in some disrepair, had views of the botanical gardens, saw the fourth century Narikala Fortress, and descended to the city’s famous sulphur baths. Some of the Delegates returned to the baths after dinner to partake of their health and beautifying properties.
[Mary Byl, Recorder]