By Tatia from Georgia
Gamarjoba! (hello!) My name is Tatia and I live in Racha. Here in Racha, girls love to dress in fashionable clothes that we see on TV and in our capital, Tbilisi. Sometimes we wear name brands, but mostly we buy our clothes at the bazaar. I wear shirts with bright colors and jeans. I often wear sunglasses. The fabrics are cotton, polyester, denim, and sometimes silk. Having nice clothing is a sign of wealth and status in my community.
Older women will wear long black shirts and long shirts to cover themselves up. The biggest symbolism with clothing here is that we wear black for mourning. My grandmother wears a black dress every day to honor my grandfather, who has passed away.
The biggest cultural figure representing female strength is King Tamar. King Tamar was a queen in 12th century. She was very beautiful and created the Golden Period in Georgia. The Golden Period is when Georgia was a very big country and very strong and the people were very happy. There are no girls’ celebrations or special days just for girls, but there is Woman’s Day on March 8th where we always hold a big celebration with a feast to celebrate women.
Dance is a big tradition and part of life here. Girls enjoy dancing and participating in dance classes and traditional Georgian culture. There is no other traditional activity that girls can partake in at a young age and so they take great pride in this activity. Families pay for dance lessons and girls show off their skills in the different kinds of Georgian dance at many parties and concerts. Dance is done in groups with boys and girls. Sometimes the girls dance by themselves at home, but most traditional dance is done in groups. There is one dance, Jeirani, where only one girl dances. When I dance, I wear traditional clothing.
I don’t work outside of the house right now, but I would like to someday. I want to work in a store like a supermarket or in a non-governmental organization. Instead, I must clean my room and study for my national exams. I want to be an economist, and my friend wants to be a psychologist.
This personal essay was developed as part of the Girl Child Project. For the project, Peace Corps Volunteers around the world collected and shared stories of girls in their communities to celebrate their diverse paths toward opportunity and success. This project was facilitated by the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Working Group at Peace Corps Headquarters.