Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Wrong Phone Number

Sorry, I gave you the wrong number the other day. You should be able to reach me at 996 31 32 48 3 56.

Dog Tricks and Tea

Internet Cafe. My Hotmail account works from the Internet cafe in Ivanovka. The internet costs 40 som/hr which is about 95 cents. This may not seem like a lot, but here 95 cents can buy you 11 loaves of fresh bread or 14 kilos of potatoes.

Unfortunately, we lost another member of the K-12 group (this is PCs designation becuase we are the 12th group of volunteers in Kyrgyzstan). I haven't heard exactly what happened and I don't want to be part of the rumor mill but apparently he had to leave for medical reasons and was quite disappointed about his impending departure. We are sad to see him go.

My family continues to impress me with their generosity and concern for my safety. Though they seem perfectly fine with allowing me to make an ass of myself. Yesterday, while preparing a cup of tea, I accidentally added a spoonful of salt instead of sugar. My lips puckered upon the first sip and my sister busted out in hysterics. Apparently she watched the whole thing happen. Her response was simply, I thought you were a Kyrgyz man--they used to put salt in their tea too. Sugar is the container with the lid on it, salt is the one left out in the open--just in case you were wondering.

Dad, your delicious beef jerky now has another purpose. It can save lives by preventing rabies. That's right folks, Jerky saves lives. The two mangy dogs that live outside my door now both stand on their hind legs and turn around (full circle) before I give them a tiny piece of jerky. Of course, my sister and mom think this is hilarious (I am working on our cat--Fyodor--but I call him Dostoevosky since I can't pronounce Fyodor correctly --it's something like Fee ay da).

Anyone who has been in the PC, knows how structured our days are here:Wake up, eat breakfast, 1/2 hr walk to my professor's house, 4 hours of Russian language, 1/2 hr walk back, eat lunch, community training on someday (which is about a 3 hour field trip from what I've gathered) other days after language class I receive technical training in Tokmok and every Wedesdays we meet (also in Tokmok about 1/2 hr by Mashrutka (mini-bus)). I get home around 5:30, study until 7:00, eat dinner and talk with my family until 10:30 and study until about midnight. My sister and mother don't go to bed until midnight and last night (Saturday) my mother stayed up grading tests and my sister processed Citizenship applications (for Tajiks trying to get Kyrgyz citizenship) until 2AM. I think these hours unusual. Most other volunteers I spoke with go to bed around 9 or 10--but to be honest, I am enjoying keeping a similar schedule as I did in the states. I remember in Thailand, I would go to bed around 8:30 because I was so mentally drained. Not that that won't happen, but as long as I feel good and energized I'm gonna use this time.

Here's a shout out to everyone at Thomson/West. I hope you are all well. Does 1800 Ref Atty work internationally? Give me a call!

Well my time's up. Take care and I'll try and write whenever I get a chance. Later,


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Sept 25. Life in Ivanovka village

My hotmail account still is not working over here, i'll be going to an internet cafe a little later this afternoon and give it a shot from there. Otherwise, please feel free to post a comment on this blog (of course, it will be public). I live in a small soviet home that was built about twenty years ago. as you enter my yard from the street, you walk under a tunnel of grapevines with bunches of fresh grapes dangling from above. To your left is a sleepy dog and to your right is yelping dog named Manya (viscious bark, but consider the creature could fit in your pocket--not too dangerous). straight ahead is the porch (four steps) Make sure you take your shoes off before you enter (this practice helps with the problem of disease because it reduces the fecal matter and TB (from saliva on the streets) from entering our home. Inside you will find a tiny kitchen (a small refrigerator, hot plate, tiny wooden table, cabinet and lots of jars for canning your fresh vegetables). Welcome. More to come later, I don't want to keep my host sister waiting any longer. Take care,


p.s. I am healthy and eating like a horse...hmmm...perhaps i'm eating horse. Any way, it tastes great.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sept. 23--Update from Ivanovka--my new home

Dear friends & family,

I have a wonderful host family and have already begun learning lots of Russian…I live with my host mother and sister—my sister is an attorney and works for an NGO that assists refugees from Tajikistan. I learned today that my legal practicum will be with her NGO. I have fully recovered from my brief bout with food poisoning, but unfortunately many of my comrades have recently fallen ill. I live in a village (actually quite big…around 15000) called Ivanovka. I can be reached at 996 31 31 48 3 56 (this should be the full phone number…996 is the country code) I am usually home around 6 iu the evenings and we are awake until at least 10 PM I hope all is well in the states. I will compose a longer email and update later. Unfortuntely Hotmail was not working so I could not read or respond to any individual emails.

p.s. Solena, either address will work for the absentee ballot---thanks for taking care of me, as always!

Take care,



Tuesday, September 21, 2004

New Beginnings

Hey Folks,

I am in Kyrgyzstan.


Philly: Doing a Voice Dub-over for a skit we put on re: remaining apolitical while in the PC (I used my best woman's voice and my buddy dressed in drag). We go a lot-o-laughs.

Istanbul: drinking beer and playing cards at the airport (unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to make it out of the city)

Kyrgyzstan: having about 80 people (most of whom I had just met a few days before) sing me Happy Birthday.

Seeing the dawn light bring the mountains into view as 5 of stayed up all night talking on a balcony at the Issyk Kul Hotel in Bishkek.

Learning that Russian would be my primary language of study and that I may be working with a Human Rights NGO(Non-Governmental Organization).

Throwing up and diareaha (more than likely from something I ate) and being in goodhands with the wonderful medical staff here!

We've got a phenomenal group of 67 volunteers. I know nearly everyone's name already and have enjoyed learning about my fellow PCV's.

I don't know how often I will be able to update this blog yet. Tomorrow I move in with my first host family (it was supposed to happen today, but my puking precluded it).

I think I have to go now. I will write every chance I get.

Take care,

Love Larry

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

My New Address (for the next 3 months of PC training)

Well, tomorrow I begin the first leg of this new adventure. My address in Kyrgyzstan (for the next 3 months) will be:

Larry Tweed
Peace Corps
304 Chokmorova Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic

* I had hoped to update more frequently over these last few weeks...sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day. Please stay tuned for the next adventure. Larry Tweed.