Tserovani is definitely not a tourist attraction; it’s one of the settlements built for people displaced by the 2008 Russia-Georgia War. Going there just to have a gander would be in poor taste, at best. However, visitors who come to Georgia with a particular interest in the region’s politics and history are often very curious about what life is like in the IDP communities. If that’s the case, there are ways where you can visit in a way that is beneficial to the community. The local NGO “For a Better Future” is based and works in this community, doing a variety of community-building and livelihood-development projects, and they offer a great way to visit Tserovani, talk to the people, and have a fun time. They’re working to build marketable skills and create jobs in the community, and one of the ways they’re doing that is by teaching women to make traditional enamel jewelry (samples of their beautiful work here) through social enterprise. They’ve taken it a step further, though, and also offer workshops where the enamel artists will teach visitors how to make a piece of jewelry. I’ve been twice, and think it’s pretty awesome. The information for registering is on their website here. The director speaks English well, and many of the artists are studying English. The first time I attended, they had a Peace Corps volunteer as well, so language is really no problem. The provide you with a light lunch of specialties from South Ossetia, which has included things like Ossetian khachapuri (khabizgina) with potato, lobiani, fruit, and a special, delicious cake traditionally made only in Akhalgori. The artist-teachers are very sweet and helpful, and strike the right balance between making sure you get a good final product, and giving you creative license. Part of the idea is also to build relationships between the IDPs, other Georgians, and foreigners, so a little friendly chit-chat is part of the event. It’s a lovely way to learn more about the IDP community, and get a pretty amazing hand-made souvenir from Georgia. I highly recommend it!

Jewelry made by my friends and I at the enamel workshop

Jewelry made by my friends and I at the enamel workshop