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Day 6 Diary from Lila Tocci
Visit to an Armenian Orphanage

Today we went to an Armenian orphanage. World Vision is trying to convince the government to phase out these institutions since 80% of the kids in these places have parents, albeit dysfunctional. It was tough to see this big old dilapidated Soviet-era building, central heat no longer working and old, rough wood flooring, basically untouched since it was built in 1968 except for…

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Day 5 Diary from Lila Tocci
Travel to Armenia

“Crossed the border” sounds simple but entails driving to the border between Georgia and Armenia, obtaining an exit visa from Georgia at the first kiosk, having your visa for Armenia approved at the next kiosk, and at the final kiosk, registering as you enter Armenia. We said goodbye to our faithful Georgian chauffeurs, then shifted luggage to the three small Russian 4-wheel drives called Nivas…

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Day 4 Diary from Lila Tocci
Trip to Zestaphoni

We leave Tbilisi early for the drive west to Zestaphoni. Heading out during rush hour we pass cars spewing grey exhaust as they vie for position at each stop. The highway funnels down to one lane in each direction. On either side tidy plots of farmland planted with fruit trees or vineyards stretch away toward house, village, and the hills beyond. Often a lone figure…

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Day 3 Diary from John Tocci
The World Vision staff are uniformly well educated, passionate and articulate. Some Georgian staff Tamuna Barkalaya and Nutsi (Nootsy) Odisharia have advanced degrees, are partially US educated and speak extremely good English. Others are well spoken but require concentration on our part to understand them. I think of Tony (Sandonato, Tocci Executive Vice President) and his ability to understand people of almost any dialect no matter how thick…

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Day 2 Poem from Lila Tocci

Sunday clear sky
breakfast window opens old city Tbilisi
church bells beckon to mass
like a primitive toll
at the foot of the ancient stone steps a peasant woman collects coins from the faithful
higher up the mountain the sun silhouettes another church
calling other faithful
breakfast is simple satisfying
cured meats, cheeses, yogurt and boiled eggs,
homemade fig preserves…

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