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 both the USA and Japan present, along with many high-ministers and cabinet members of the Kyrgyz Government. About 500 people in total.
The ceremony WAS broadcast on the internet, but we were provided with the wrong link. The correct link, where clips and be viewed on-demand, is here (I am in the front row sitting on stage, green shirt, purple tie):
After the ceremony the Volunteers were bussed away to the PC Office (a very large, BEAUTIFUL compound) where we had a legit BBQ, complete with Dr. Pepper, Mug Root Beer and many other items that we were shocked to see here. There is a US military base 20 miles away and they donated these American delicacies to us to mark the occasion. Very nice of them.
Now I am at my site in Talas City. My family is amazing. They are great at engaging with me and being patient with my limited language. My house resembles a Swedish spa mixed with a tropical garden. I have 3 flushing toilets, whereas many volunteers don’t have even one. I am WAY blessed in this regard.
I do not miss Louisiana’s nasty summer at all right now. It is so super beautiful here. I took a nap in a gazebo in my family’s gardens yesterday and I felt like I could have easily been on a beach somewhere with a gentle sea-breeze.
My job here is working with an awesome community-based radio station. I came to the office today and was handed about 5 pounds of paperwork, outlining how we are to spend a very large sum of money (that I can’t disclose) over the next two years in an cumulative project called “Helping Women by helping Men: Media Campaign on Domestic Violence Prevention.” These funds derive from a grant of the European Union that we were awarded last week. They want me to implement many of the grant’s stipulations, which conveniently, is for a term of 2 years. This includes concerts, radio programs, seminars and various other community outreach programs. Very exciting!
Language has picked up a lot now that I am at site. My office is so confusing because depending on who I am speaking with, I come in and out of English, German and Kyrgyz. They often speak Russian to each other and then I have no idea what they are saying. Many conversations here comprise of all 4 languages with various people translating for each other. Its a very interesting situation.
I am going to start looking for a language tutor next week. The PC will pay for this, so pending their approval I would like to have a Russian tutor and start on that. If they say yes, then I am going to ask someone at the German school here to do it. I think it would be really neat to LEARN Russian IN German. It might even make more since that way, because Russian and German grammar, and the use of cases, is very similar. Whereas the similarities with English are far and few between.
Tomorrow I am going back to Bishkek for more training. I was selected for a camp called “Training of Trainers.” After that I don’t have too many plans to depart from my site in the near future.
All in all I am very happy here and things are going really really well. Everyone has a unique experience in the Peace Corps and I am discovering the accurateness of the PC’s slogan, “The Toughest Job You WIll Ever Love.”
Be good, stay in touch, and don’t be a stranger!
Yours In Service,
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