July 17, 2014 – Tom Babington, 25, of Severna Park, Md., has completed his service as a Peace Corps education volunteer in Georgia and will return home to the United States Friday, July 18.
Babington with students in Georgia.
For more than two years, Babington has been living and working in Abasha, Georgia, assigned to a secondary school to co-teach English with Georgian counterpart teachers. He and his community also implemented a project to build hand-pump wells to create reliable access to water on the school grounds.
“After the well was built, students and teachers had reliable access to potable water. The well is used every day by students, teachers, and even neighbors who live near the school,” said Babington. “This project also helped my counterpart develop project management skills.”
Tom in traditional Georgian clothing for a friend’s wedding.
Babington said that his town, Abasha is a small agricultural town in northwestern Georgia, in the province of Samegrelo. One of the most interesting experiences he had in Georgia was serving as the “mejvare,” or best man, in his friend Levan’s wedding.
“I wore the traditional Georgian clothing, called a ‘chokha.’ It was an honor to be chosen, and it was one of the highlights of my service,” said Babington.
Upon returning to the United States, Babington will attend the University of Maryland where he will pursue a master’s degree in Public Policy on a Robertson’s Fellowship.
“Peace Corps has been a huge boost for my education and career goals. I started applying for graduate schools last winter, and I know Peace Corps was a big reason I was offered admission and scholarships from many schools. Graduate schools definitely value the development and international experience that volunteers gain,” Babington said.
Babington and the world map he painted with students.
A native of Washington, D.C. and a resident of Severna Park, Md., Babington graduated in 2010 from the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., earning a bachelor’s of arts in Western European History. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, Babington worked as a political consultant in New York.
Babington said that he will most miss his Georgian friends and fellow Peace Corps volunteers.
Tom with a drinking horn in Georgia.
“I will do my best to keep up with them. I promised to come back within the next five years. I am also bringing lots of horns back home. Georgians hollow out horns from rams and other animals, and then use them to drink out of during special ceremonies. I have so many that I cannot count them all, and I will have to leave some here in Georgia!” Babington concluded.
Babington was one of the 199 Maryland residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 5,729 Maryland residents have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.
About Peace Corps/Georgia: There are currently 90 volunteers in Georgia working in the areas of English education and community economic development. During their service in Georgia, volunteers learn to speak Georgian. More than 515 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Georgia since the program was established in 2001.