Sunday, October 29, 2006

Kazakh Kids and I

Holding down the Kazakh region with my new friend.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The village of Vinnoye, the blue houses are a
horse farm.

new address

My new address in Ust Kamenogorsk is:

Mr Samuel Robinson
A-A 2490
Ust Kamenogorsk

Send me mail.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Vinnoye: Population 1,876....make that 77.


Training is coming to a close and in a couple of weeks I will be residing in my permenant village, named Vinnoye in Northeast KZ (over 1,000km away). Vinnoye is very close to Ust Kamenogorsk, the capital of the oblast (region) and a large city. This region of Kazakhstan has much more of a Russian influence (90% of the village is Russian), with some Germans,
Chechyens and Kazakhs. So basically in training I was in a different country, a place with much more of a muslim and "silkroad" influence. East (Vastok) Kazakhstan gets down to -45 and vodka is much more of a staple here. This region of Kazakhstan was originally supposed to be part of Russia but when Stalin chalked out the lines for central asia, he included it with kazakhstan for some reason. The Russians here are really mad at him for this for some reason.
My village is so small that when I first visited it in early october for a week I almost had a breakdown, coming from NY. It used to be a thriving collective farm under the Soviet Union, but since the fall many people have been moving to Russian and without finacial assistance from the USSR it has slowly become smaller. The village is about 1,800 people and the school
has 200 students, so I only have classes monday and wendesday. There are some nice mountains by me, including the Altais (some of the largest in the
world) and some great hiking and skiing spots. The steppe farther to the west is insane, its just thousands and thousands of KM of flat land or plains, with nothing in sight.
Russian remains insanely difficult.
"Swearing In" is on the 10th of november, and the next day I head 1,000
km north to Vinnoye, population 1,876...make that 77.

Saturday, October 07, 2006