Kyrgyzstan

A stunning land in Central Asia.

Dubbed The Switzerland of Central Asia, I lived in Kyrgyzstan for two years working with the United Nations on media and social justice development projects as a Peace Corps volunteer. My time here was the most rewarding and meaningful time of my life. I spent my first year working with community radio station RadioMost in Talas City, where I helped create training materials for a growing national network of citizen journalists. Then, I wrote my own project concept and secured funding from UNESCO. There were many organizations supporting media training in these areas, but the reach of those journalists was very limited and very isolated. My concept was to leverage the power of mobile technology by placing it in the hands of rural journalists and building a unifying platform which tells the story of life in Central Asia. Today, KyrgyzMedia.com is a vibrant and active outlet which receives thousands of montly visitors from all over the world and continues to be supported by the United Nations and the Deutsche Welle Akadamie. The initiative is locally supported by Kloop Media.

Peace Corps: Mission Accomplished

Serving with the United States Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan these last two years has been a tremendous experience. During my two years in Kyrgyzstan I accomplished many things; too many to attempt listing here. So let me just describe the cornerstone achievement: Mobile...

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Appendectomy In Bishkek

A Fair Warning The following is an account of my appendectomy which was performed in Kyrgyzstan. Due to the medical and at times gruesome nature of this story, I have chosen to omit a few details and spare the public of some photography. That said, there may still be...

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Nooryz 2013

Nooryz is the Islamic new year and is celebrated in the spring time as new life is emerging from the icy grip of winter. In Kyrgyzstan, celebrations typically include cultural performances of music and dance. This video is from the Turkish-Manas Kyrgyz University in...

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K-19 COS Conference

This is it. This is the end. I made it. Yet somehow, I don't feel any sense of accomplishment. As I participate in the commencement sessions of my Peace Corps group for three days at this resort, all I can think about is how I need to be back at my site. There is...

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Bike Race

I recently participated in my first bike race! It was a really great experience but because I entered into the "professional" category and we were the last of 3 categories to race, I lost a lot of energy just standing around and the weather turned from a beautiful...

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Hiking Konorchek Canyon

I joined a group from the Trekking Union of Kyrgyzstan today to explore Konorchek Canyon. The landscape in this canyon is very different from anything else I've seen in Kyrgyzstan. It reminds me of the canyons in New Mexico and Arizona. Much of Kyrgyzstan's landscape...

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LSU Alumni Association Magazine Article – Spring 2013

Here is my contribution to the LSU Alumni Association Magazine for Spring 2013. View original source here: http://issuu.com/lsualumni/docs/lsuaa_spring2013 Greetings Tiger Nation, I hope the start of 2013 is fulfilling all of your hopes and dreams! The holiday season...

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I Am The Quiz Master

Last night I was the quiz master at my favorite local quiz night in Bishkek. We had a great turnout of 30 people consisting of locals, foreigners and all ages and professions. This weekly quiz night is a relaxed place to have fun and learning something new. This was...

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Bishkek Attack

Just considering that I would begin this post with something like, "I don't know how important it is to tell you that..." should be a pretty clear indicator, but for the sake of documentation, and most importantly, to let you all know that I am OK, let me tell you a...

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Merry Christmas (Russian Orthodox)

January 7th is the date of Orthodox Christmas. For a long and detailed explanation of why this differs from the western-celebrated December 25th Christmas you can refer to this article on Wikipedia. My friend Dimity instructed me to the time and place where the...

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Ski Trip to Zil 2

I made my third trip skiing this season today and it was a real blast. The weather was the best I have had all season. It was warm and sunny for most of the day. I also got in quite a few runs, 15 or so! There is a new upper-lift on the right side of the mountain and...

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LSU Alumni Magazine Article – Winter 2012

Greetings Tiger Nation, As beautiful summer days become a distant memory from this dark and cold Kyrgyzstani winter, I wrap myself in the warm knowledge that though my time here is quickly coming to a close, I have indeed made a difference. My accomplishments here...

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Ski Trip To Zil #1

Ski Season is here! My desire for years has been to live within a 3-hours drive of skiing. And now I am less than an hour away from skiing. And what makes it even better is that an entire day's cost (transport, food, ski rental and lift pass) costs less than $30.00!...

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Biking to Panorama

I bought a mountainbike so that I could go to the mountains. And so I did! My lovely new Giant ATX770 held up to the test. We road about 10 miles into the low-lying hills on the south-side of Bishkek to a well-known spot called "Panorama." This is like Make Out Point...

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Kurban Ait

This morning Bishkek Muslims began the Kurban Ait celebration by gathering in the center square of the city. 70,000 people were projected to be in attendance and I made my way to observe the events. If you have ever seen Muslims pray, then there is nothing new to...

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FLEX Exam 2012 Bishkek

I was asked to help proctor the FLEX exam this year in Bishkek. Here is a snippet about the program from the FLEX Website: The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program is a US government-sponsored program for secondary school students from the 11 republics of the former...

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Bishkek Graffiti

I took a long bike ride and found this great stretch of graffiti art on a long concrete wall. I haven't seen anything else like this in Kyrgyzstan so I though it was worth sharing with the world. Please leave a comment below with your thoughts about these pieces....

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LSU Alumni Magazine Article – Fall 2012

Here is a screenshot of my most recent article in the LSU Alumni Association Magazine. The text from the article is posted below the screen shot. Enjoy! Greetings Tiger Nation, Hot weather, sports, seemingly endless food, group activities and an element of learning by...

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National Opera House

This is the national Opera House which I pass every day to and from my office. I often hear the singers practicing through the windows so everyday I get a little bit of a free concert.

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Bishkek Apartment #2

Keeping with tradition and always being on the move, I have now moved into a new apartment after only being in Bishkek for two months. This makes the 5th place I have lived in Kyrgyzstan and my short 17 months here. This place is a real find. Right in the center of...

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Almanbet’s Brother’s Wedding

My good Kyrgyz friend, Almambet, invited me to attend his brother's wedding. His brother is the general manager of the 5-star Hotel Jennat on the southern edge of Bishkek where the wedding was held. The hotel was the Monte Carlo Casino until January 2012 when casinos...

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Giant ATX 770

After a 3-year hiatus beginning when I moved off to London and had a massive sell-off of all my possessions, I am back on wheels with this great bike I found in Bishkek. This used Giant ATX 770 has a few upgraded components and rides great. The price? Well, let's call...

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ICT Camp Dinner Night

Last night I had a group of new friends in Bishkek over for dinner at my new apartment. We played Jinga, ate red beans and rice, and had a really fun time. Everyone here was involved in the 2-day camp I did in July for students from Jalalabad Oblast. They are the...

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Lake Issyk Kul Summer 2012

Scuba Diving My friend Alina (the Kyrgyz girl in these photos) invited me a long to go on a scuba diving trip to Lake Issyk-Kul. This is a very large lake which dominates the map of Kyrgyzstan in the east. It is 118x37 miles in size and it's deepest point is nearly...

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Besh Tash with Family

My second host family in Talas, Kyrgyzstan, took me to the nearby Besh Tash (Five Stones) National Park. They have a "cowboy" who watches over their flock of sheep and various other animals. We plucked one from the heard and cooked it up river-side. It was delicious!...

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Bishkek ICT Training

If there is a reason why I joined the Peace Corps it was the experience of the last few days. I conducted an ICT training for students from the southern oblast of Jalalabad where I am not allowed to travel due to Peace Corps regulations. Since I could not go to them,...

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2012 4th of July Bishkek Embassy Party

Happy Birthday America! Here are a few photos of the festivities at the American Embassy in Bishkek. They really know how to throw a party and make us ExPats feel at home for a day! Thank you!

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Golden Birthday and Sie Germans

Golden Birthday Party 29 on the 29th is apparently all the reason needed to bring people from all over Kyrgyzstan to Talas. It was also the site visit weekend for the new group of volunteers (K-20). Dinner and then a house party. It was an epic evening full of...

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Sushi Nights

In the year that I have lived in Talas I have made many visits to the Kyrgyz capital city, Bishkek. During this time I have been the beneficiary of great kindness and hospitality by those who live in the capital and have housed me and made me feel at home. These last...

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Mars Family

Mars is a dear friend of mine from Bishkek and was my main host when I visited Bishkek before I moved here. Here I am with his family having a great time enjoying a beautiful day. [gallery link="file" include="1651, 1650, 1649, 1648, 1647, 1646, 1645, 1643, 1642,...

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Osh Bazaar

The Osh Bazaar in Bishkek is one of the most important shopping places in Kyrgyzstan. I live about a 10-15 minute walk from here and it is a pretty important place for me too.

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Bowling in Bishkek

In my 15 months in Kyrgyzstan I have never heard of something like a western-style mall or a gaming center. Today imagine my extreme surprise to arrive to CosmoPark with a massive arcade, 2 bowling allies (20 lanes) and a nearly IMAX-sized movie theater! I had a great...

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LSU Alumni Magazine Article – Summer 2012

  Greetings Tiger Nation, I am proud to report that I am now celebrating the 1-year anniversary of my arrival to my site in Talas, Kyrgyzstan. Over the last year I have engaged in many activities, learned a lot about myself and worked hard to help others learn...

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Besh Tash National Park

In preparation for the 2012 Talas GLOW/TOBE Camp I needed to make a site visit to the camp site in the Besh Tash National Park. The camp had been here last year but I was not in attendance. I had a few friends come a long with me. The scenery is beautiful despite...

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Peace Corps Hardship

Life in the Peace Corps is not as luxurious as some might think it could be. Here is a quick shot of my daily hardship: From left to right: Epiphone 6-string (steel) guitar; Mr. Coffee French press with fresh-ground columbian coffee, iPad 32GB+wifi (being used as...

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Bishkek / Talas Winter Road Conditions

Think you have a tough commute? This is just another day in the life of a Talas Peace Corps Volunteer. I came to a point where every time I got in a car to make this drive I full accepted the idea that this may be the very last time I use my legs. It is no way to live...

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Disaster Ski Trip

I don't like to be negative about too many things, but man oh man this day was pretty much a disaster (and I have seen some disasters.. Katrina, Rita, Gustav... I know what I am talking about!) The car was late picking us up, the ski rental shop was closed, finally...

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LSU Alumni Magazine Article – Spring 2012

  Greetings Tiger Nation, As the New Year gets it’s start in this winter wonderland of Central Asia, I find myself drowning in opportunity for service in 2012. Starting off on the right foot in a partnership with United States Air Force soldiers from the Manas...

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PCVs on Kyrgyz National Television ОТРК

Kyrgyz national television ОТРК-1 recently came to my house to interview some Peace Corps Volunteers about how we celebrate the New Year in American and how we will celebrate the holiday in the Kyrgyz Republic. In this video: Aika Kanaeva: Peace Corps Counterpart...

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Thanksgiving, New Government and New Year

Being as far away from America as I am did not put even the slightest dent in my celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday last week. Thanks to the US Embassy in Bishkek and the Peace Corps staff we had 3 x 20lbs Butterball turkeys and all the dishes you would expect to...

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Program Travel Report Nov 13-27, 2011

Sunday Nov 13 - Monday Nov 14 ============================= These were travel days to the HIV Training in Cholpon Ata. The first day was travel by taxi from Talas to Bishkek.  The second day was travel by PC-supplied charter bus from PC Office - Cholpon Ata.  One...

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Thanksgiving in Kyrgyzstan

Happy Thanksgiving! Things here were very eventful on Thursday but not a a holiday. However,this week has been quite amazing. On Tuesday I returned to Bishkek fromKarakol (ski town in the far east of Kyrgyzstan) and went to Rotary for the1st time where I met (among...

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May Freedom Ring

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Kyrgyz Republic’s independence from the USSR. To mark the occasion there was a parade downtown in front of the White House (The State of Talas’s government building) in the morning followed by widely-held house...

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The Nature of My Work

I have been at my site now for 1 month. Though I have only scratched the surface of my work’s potential and am still in the “honeymoon” phase, I feel like I have accomplished a lot. I will write more on the programs I have created later once they are...

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Жатсон доско тамаша!

For my birthday, the Press Secretary to the Governor of Talas State wrote me a song. Here it is in Kyrgyz, I will try to translate it later: Жатсон доско тамаша! Океандын ар жагы, болсо да Жатсон турагы, Алыстан аттын арытып Таласка келген убагы. Билими жетик жаш бала...

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Working Hard For The (no) Money

Thus far in the Peace Corps, I have been elected or appointed into every available leadership roll. They are: Airport Captain: I was responsible for the movement of volunteers and information sharing of all logistics to all volunteers from JFK>Istanbul>Bishkek....

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A quick update on the last week of my life…

A quick update on the last week of my life… The swearing-in ceremony was eventful, as expected. It was held in the national theater and the building had a perimeter of police that would make you believe the president was there. In fact, we did have the Ambassadors of...

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First Day On Site in Talas City

I haven’t seen as many horses as I have seen today since I lived in Kentucky!   I arrived in Talas City about 3 hours ago and had dinner (and tea, of course).  Dinner was amazing.. fresh veggies and fruits (both of which have been lacking in my diet) as well as...

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Site Placement: Radiomost 100.5FM

The NGO I will be working for is call Radiomost. I have not been given very much information from the PC about this organization but after some Google searches I found the articles below....

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Arrived Safely to Bishkek!

I have arrived safely to Kyrgyzstan! The country is breathtakingly beautiful, the people are amazing and the food is even pretty awesome! This is my first time to access the internet and I probably won’t have another chance for about a week. I will be receiving...

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