This is the first of a three-part series which gives a little background on our awesome Community Organizer team!
written by Jesse Tatum
(Born in Lugansk, Ukraine, 30 September 1986)
Do not let the leather jacket and tough exterior fool you: Beka has a heart of gold, and always goes the extra mile to help out his co-workers. Resourceful and committed, Beka knows how to get things done, regardless of the obstacles in the way. A former merchant marine, he has traveled the globe and loves to see a new city for the first time from the sea. Nevertheless, he counts Georgia as his preferred destination, and has lived in Kutaisi, Batumi and Gori. With local contacts across the country and a solid knowledge of several regions, Beka is a key member of CaucasusMap’s team.
In his spare time, Beka likes to play basketball, go swimming and is a member of the Off-Road Club, Georgia. He has mapped numerous areas from the seat of his vehicle, and hopes to be able to continue for several months to come.
(Born in Gori, 14 June 1984)
Natia’s dedication to the Project is immediately evident: she is totally in her element leading a group out into the pouring rain to finish those final few roads at the far of a village. Her background includes a stint as a tour guide in Gori, an experience which lends itself perfectly to her current role.
Natia loves getting to see new places through working on the Project, and is adept with the GPS devices and the final editing. She loves to travel, with Svaneti among her favorite destinations. In the future, Natia hopes to work with another NGO to continue to help people in need.
(Born in Gori, 14 May 1984)
A natural leader, Khatuna’s take-charge attitude allows her to get things done efficiently and in a timely manner. Working for ICRC as a field officer-translator, she returned to Gori after the 2008 war to investigate cases of missing soldiers and family members who disappeared during the crisis. She knows the Shida Kartli region intimately, which quickly becomes evident during her mapping excursions for the Project.
Khatuna enjoys dancing, visiting new places and meeting the IDP volunteers and local authorities. She is at ease working with an international crowd and, like her colleagues, would love to continue the CaucasusMap Project in some capacity for the foreseeable future.
(Born in Gori, 7 January 1986)
Bright-eyed and inquisitive, Lika’s background includes a degree in English Language and Literature from Gori University. Perfectly suited for her role in the CaucasusMap Project, she attained prior experience as a volunteer for Society Biliki, where her work consisted of teaching English and translating articles for Biliki’s magazine. She enjoys working with CaucasusMap because it allows her to meet new people and to continue to learn new things, especially editing the maps using JOSM, in which she now provides training for the volunteers who work with the team.
Her favorite villages are Noste, Bebnisi and Samtsevrisi, in particular because of their churches. She enjoys singing, dancing and reading up on the history of Georgia in her spare time. Lika’s future plans include applying for the Muskie Fellowship to study Special Education in the US, as she envisages a career that involves teaching children with learning disabilities.