Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan

Monday, October 31, 2005

Brian's Colleagues

John Copenhaver---Most Frightening Costume!

What would you do with a Russian sailor--What would you do with a Russian sailor?


STOP--You're Under Arrest!!!

Eric and Ian--What a cute couple!

Monday, October 24, 2005

You want me to go in there?

The Next Reality TV Show: Peace Corps Volunteers Gone Wild!

Staring contest with Dragon Fly. I lost.

Fishing on the Papan reservoir.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Sun on the river valley.

Kyrgyzstan Snake: Close up

Snake on a day hike outside Osh

Papan reservoir: just 20 minutes from Osh.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Last week's discussion on Time Management actually turned out to be a lot of fun. Bethany Burns, a University Teacher, added some interesting facts: Synchronization of European and U.S. watches took place for the first time in 1912. Why? Because everybody wanted to know the exact time that the Titanic sunk. We also talked about the U.S. perception of time and how that influences our speech and culture. For instance: Time is money--Ben Franklin. Don't waste time. You can save time by... etc. I find this equation of time with money fascinating and think it speaks to our values and why we are such a productive (meaning our labor output is darn high) society. But do we miss out on anything becuase of this?

At the end of the class, I asked the students if they knew what time the discussion club started. Nearly all 53 of them raised their hands. Then I pointed to the whiteboard (where Nate, another volunteer had been marking each late arrival with a marker). We counted 24 people who arrived late. We all laughed. This is a difficult problem that most volunteers and foreigners face when coming to Kyrgyzstan.

I also faced this Time Issue in Indonesia when I lived there. Indonesia has many rubber plantations and, as you know, rubber is flexible. Accordingly, Indonesians designate tardiness as "Jam Karat" or, Rubber Time.

Here in Kyrgyzstan, it is simply known by the locals as "Kyrgyz Time". When we (PC volunteers) have a meeting with locals, we always ask, "So, does that start on Kyrgyz Time or American Time?" This usually gets a good laugh, since everyone here knows about and acknowledges the cultural Time differences.

Last Night's discussion was on European and United States Relations. Chad (another PCV in Osh) gave a wonderful presentation and then we had the students (again, over 50 showed up) divide into two large groups representing Europe and the U.S. Each side was to come up with 7 interests that these global powers have in common and seven interests that diverge. Then we debated the lists.

The WebCam links on Tuesdays and Thursday has continued to go fairly successfully--though there have been some technical bumps in the road...The students keep coming, I just wish that Osh State University would take a more active role in this. It's supposed to be their opportunity to link with countries around the world and the program has not received any support. All of the other schools have a professor from their institution that runs the course and a classroom to conduct it in. We have neither. The students aren't even getting credit (unlike the other universities) they are just doing it because they are excited to learn about other cultures. Ahhh, I am venting.

Anyway, that's the work update. We are still waiting for our funding to arrive from DC (they said about 3 weeks) so that we can purchase the computers and get them up and running in the Center for American Studies.

Take care folks!

Also, I just want to send out a CONGRATULATIONS TO MY FRIENDS MARNI & GREG on their WEDDING!!!! I am sorry I can't be there to celebrate in person! Miss you guys and I hope to see you over X-mas.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I just wanted to thank everybody who contributed to the Peace Corps Partnership Project. I just received word from HQ that the project was fully funded and that we should be getting the funds in a few weeks. Your contributions will literally change the lives of students by giving them the opportunity to connect with people around the world, learn how to use word processing programs, search for schools and universities that offer study programs for foreign students, write reports, conduct research, etc.

The students are so excited and I am too. Thank you all so very much for contributing!!!


Larry Tweed
Peace Corps Volunteer
Center for American Studies
Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Osh, Kyrgyzstan: Revenge of the Stomach Demons

That's right, I am sick. However, I dropped the A-bomb of antibiotics (Cipro) on the terrorists that hijacked my digestive tract and the warbling cries from my stomach have waned.

News: Today is the beginning of Ramadan.

Last week we held our 10th discussion club. Topic: Gender Issues. Four Peace Corps Volunteers assisted with the discussion and we had over 50 participants. We started the discussion by having the male students write down a list of reasons why they think it is good to be a woman; while the women created a list of why they thought it was good to be a man. This certainly spawned some interesting discussion.

Next Topic: Time Management: Again, the students choose the topics. I think this will actually be fun to talk about the different cultural perceptions of Time. It will also be fun to count how many people wander in late...

The more I adapt to living in Kyrgyzstan the harder it gets to write about Kyrgyzstan. The little peculiarities become common place. For example, I no longer wonder why the base of every street-lined tree is painted white. Or, why do those old ladies walking through the bazaar poke and prod me to move faster--can't they see that there's like 500 people in front of me, which is why I am not moving forward. I've accepted that sandpaper makes a more effective toilet paper and that garbage, when viewed in the right light, just looks like big pieces of confetti after a parade (though I still refuse to litter--even though many well-educated people encourage me to do so). I've also accepted that milk and yogurt should be sold by a lyrical cartel of price-fixing women who wander the sidewalks at 7AM bellowing their song, "Milk, Yogurt, I-Ron".

So, it's been hard to write a bit lately. But I'll work on it...

Take care,

Larry Tweed (Now in the 28th stage of culture shock, AKA, "the banal phase")