Trip Start Jan 15, 2005
16Trip End Jun 01, 2005
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Greetings from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. I made it safely here, with no problems. We arrived early morning on Thursday (or Wednesday afternoon for you midwesterners). Once I got my bags and everyone loaded up the buses, and got to our rooms in the sanatorium, it was 5am here (6pm CDT). I think I was able to get about 4 hours of sleep, but it was good sleep. At the airport, all 65 volunteers were greeted by Peace Corps staff that helped us find our way, it was comforting to see friendly faces.
The sanitorium where we are staying is located outside of Tashkent in the city of Qibray. It is a nice place, a gated compound where we sleep, eat, and go to our meetings. Peace Corps has taken great care of us and our stay has been really pleasant.
Most of the staff is from Uzbekistan, so they are a great resource for language and cultural training. They also have presented shows in the evenings, like a welcome show where they sang and did dances of the ethnic groups of the country. They also performed a fashion show displaying the clothes that are worn. Uzbekistan is a unique experience as far as Peace Corps goes. I was instructed to bring nice clothes, skirts, sweaters, nice shirts, pants, because the people here take great pride in their appearance. Well I'm glad I listened, eveyone dresses very professionally, and they take it seriously. I've never dressed this way so many days in a row. I want to learn to make my own things, some nice dresses maybe.
The weather here is chilly and damp, but today it is sunny. There are mountains that I can see from my window and today with the sun, were brilliantly white.
The other volunteers are in areas of health extension, education, and NGO development. I am in NGO development but also water engineering, and there is only one other person in water engineering. I am so accostomed to being around engineers, I just thought more folks would be involved with that. I don't really know yet what my project will entail, but I have enough to worry about. I will be at the sanitorium until January 28th, learning the language, customs, adjusting to life here. On the 28th, I'll meet my host family, and live with them for the next 10 weeks. They will provide a separate room for me and there will be electricity, which is needed for our water distillers, and running water will be available in most cases. This next week I hope to learn alot of the language, so far I only know how to introduce myself, tell where I am from and say good-bye. But that is better than nothing, and I find a sense of pride in this.
So far, I don't have any problems with the food, except that the meat is not lean and the food is generally greasy. Breakfast is bread with meat and cheese, lunch is the largest meal with soup and a main coarse, and dinner is one main coarse. Lunch and dinner have veggies, and all meals have bread. Bread is very respected here.
Today was our Tashkent trip, we visited the Peace Corps Headquarters, a madrassa (a place for learning), and the Amir Timur Museum. This is just a quick update, and I hope to send more when I have more time.
I hope you are all doing well. I wish we could be together to experience this. I miss you all, and you are in my heart.