Eleven GREAT Kazakhstani students!!!

Kazakhstani students





If you have been following my students’ narrative essays you will have learned more about Kazakhstan’s recent history during the former Soviet Union. They are in reverse order starting on June 28:

 1. “Thirty Minute Shoes in Exchange for a Suit” by Olga – whimsical story about her mother and father’s courtship during the former USSR days.

2. “A Taste of Warmth” by Irina – about her Korean father who was saved from starvation by Kazakhs.


3. “Grandmother is Our Bright Star” by Gulnar – her husbands family were highly regarded in Uzbekistan but they lost much.


4. “Time We Remember” by Yuliya – Her grandmother lived through the starvation period of the 1930s in Kazakhstan.


5. “Strong Belief” by Nurganym – Her father-in-law talks of his family living in China and what happened to their family in Beijing.


6. “Time Will Not Turn Back Again” by Maya – Her family came from Russia to Kazakhstan during the Stolypin reforms.


7. “Shell that Saved Lives” by Dinara – about her grandfather who fought in WWII against the Germans alongside an Uzbek comrade.


8. “Despite Anything” by Yelena – her Korean ancestors and what they endured through the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.


9. “One Tragedy in One Family” by Elvira – Her great grandfather was one of the many victims of Stalin’s purges.


10.  “Kazakh Grandmother” by Kanat – he came from a rich and noble Kazakh family who were dispossessed of their accumulated wealth, his grandmother threw a gold belt into the fire.

11. “Russian Grandmother” by Alexandr – his grandmother came from the Siberian village and survived much hardship and were forced to move to Uzbekistan.

Read these accounts of each student and find out what a rich heritage they have inherited from each of their families.  Imagine what a rich classroom experience I had learning from them in these short narrative essays.  What other stories are being left unwritten?  I want to find out more while their grandparents are still alive to tell their stories.


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Nyura said,

    I have really enjoyed your students’ essays. Narratives of everyday Kazakhstani life and history aren’t easily found, and your students have made a great contribution to their readers, as well as done a great job on their academic assignments. As an educator myself, I also love your creativity in assigning a project that has to be original and can’t be plagiarized! Nice going. 🙂

    May I highlight your blog and the student essays on my site?

    Thank you –

  2. 2

    Otto Pohl said,

    Kristina, thanks for posting these. I had my students write about their family history for my Political History of the USSR class. Before they wrote the papers a number of my students remarked that their family were just ordinary workers or farmers and that their papers would not be very interesting. I told them that the lives of ordinary people in the USSR were important and that how they experienced the political and social changes of the 20th century was important. Needless to say the papers proved to be very interesting. Almost all of them had stories of relatives that fought in WWII. Many of them had relatives that were of suspect class background (i.e. kulaks or bais) or nationalities. And finally the changes in ordinary Kyrgyz life was pretty extreme from 1917 to 1991. History is not just something that happens to other “important” people. You seem to have done a good job of imparting this lesson to your students. Keep up the good work.

  3. 3

    kazakhnomad said,

    Nyura and Otto, thanks for your encouragement about this writing project and yes, please do highlight my blog’s narrative essays to your other readers. My students will be very pleased, I am sure!

    I believe my students’ grandparents and greatparents are very important people to have survived what happened under communism. Yes, these stories need to get out to the rest of the world so westerners know just what actually happened!!!

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