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 see at any American celebration of thanks.
The PC Medical Officer (who plays excellent blues guitar) and I provided the entertainment. He played blues/jazz guitar while I accompanied on drums and occasionally I also played guitar. This was my first public guitar performance and I feel pretty good about it. I even led a few sing-alongs of American Pie and Stand By Me.
While in Bishkek for the week I visited a rehearsal studio for a few hours and got some time in on drums after a year of no practice. I believe this may be the only existing video of me playing drums and unfortunately the memory card ran out of space after just 3 minutes. But for your enjoyment:
With the new year just around the corner Kyrgyzstan has made Central Asian history by peacefully and fairly electing a new president. The elections at the end of October resulted in a landslide victory for former prime minster Almazbek Atambaev. President Atambaev took office on December 1st and so far everything is smooth-sailing. All of the local people I know seem to think he is the right person for the job.
Next week I will be going to Bishkek again to ski for a few days and to attend a training on grant writing. The project I will be developing is aimed at using iPads for the creation and broadcast of radio and written news stories from the rural villages of western Kyrgyzstan. My office, Radiomost, has an extensive network of community journalists throughout the region but sometimes their involvement can be restricted by logistical obstructions like road conditions, travel time, power outages and social/family obligations. With iPads, journalists can create, edit and email programs with great efficiency and low cost.
I feel strongly about the merit of this project and believe that when successful, it will serve as a blueprint for using mobile devices for information creation throughout the developing world.
Snow here is starting to get pretty thick. Though I have been warned that I haven’t really seen anything yet. This Louisiana boy doesn’t do cold or snow, so it will be an interesting next few months to see how I adapt. I have a beautiful view of snow-capped mountains out my bedroom window which is nice to look at, just not to go out in!
My Russian language is progressing at an accelerating rate. I am excited for the day when I can actually hold basic conversations. Right now I am understanding a lot of what people are saying, I just don’t know how to respond to it. The grammar of Russian is very intense. Every word of a sentence is conjugated based on gender, number and who the statement is directed toward.
The New Year is quickly approaching and though I won’t be attending any Manhattan roof-top parties this year, my family tells me they have an annual celebration of epic proportions.
I you a safe and happy holiday season. Keep in touch!
(oh and GEAUX TIGERS! SEC Champs 2011!!!)
Preview my new book now and learn how to:
Just let me know where to send it!