We had our first experience with patience in Azerbaijan last week. Last Friday (the 26th) we spent hours and hours at Mike’s apartment helping him and his girlfriend Kate prepare for a Halloween party to be thrown the next day at School 3. It was really fun getting ready; we got to eat Kate’s spaghetti and Mike’s M&M cookies. We were making decorations, carving pumpkins, planning games and baking cookies until about 11pm. The next morning we went back to Mike’s to finish getting ready. Cindy and Bev came over and helped me peel grapes. Not an easy task. We hailed 2 cabs, loaded everything into them, and drove through rainy Mingechevir to School 3.
When we got there, Sevil, the teacher Kate knows at School 3 was talking to the director. We took everything back to the auditorium to set up. Sevil came back and told us we had to see the director. She informed us that it would be impossible for us to have the party that day. (This would have been no big deal to us, except that we gave up going to the Nar Festival to throw this party!! I was really looking forward to the Nar Fest; apparently last year they had a nar that weighed 2 kilos or something… that’s a big nar!) We planned to do the party on Monday morning. We learned we must be patient and learned that as Mike says, “The more you plan something, the more likely it will fall through.” Such is life in Peace Corps, at least in Azerbaijan.
On Monday we walked (again in the rain) back to School 3. We set everything up and about 30 kids came. Everything went really well! Jesse ran the pumpkin carving station, I helped out with the mask making, Mike led the gross out table (goo, peeled grapes, spaghetti, severed hot dog fingers), Kate played pin the nose on the jack-o-lantern. When all the kids had done every station, we had a pumpkin walk. All the kids got cookies and the winner got one of the carved jack-o-lanterns.
I was really impressed with the group of kids we had. We were told that creativity isn’t really encouraged in schools, but these kids were very creative! Some of the masks they made were amazing and artistic! They did a great job making unique jack-o-lanterns – one even had a moustache and uni-brow. Appropriate.
It was really neat to be part of a Peace Corps project! Even though it wasn’t our project and Kate isn’t even in Peace Corps (she lives in Ganja and is working on her masters degree), it was still good to see how parties work and it was fun to be involved in it.