Archive for August 2, 2010

A Review of my Past Year in Kazakhstan

Looking back at my life a year ago, much has happened to Ken and me.  We usually say to people that we take one semester at a time and this is true as has been for the last decade practically.  A year ago August, I was hosting many people from my family and also from Ken’s side. Then I got on the plane by myself to make the 24 hour port-to-port journey back to Almaty.  I was set up in a much smaller apartment (cheaper) but closer to the mountains and better air.  I did not have a signed contract with my employers at the westernized university but there was a tacit understanding that I would teach as I had done the last year and half.

Much to my surprise I was registered with five different classes (3 preps) with over 100 students all together.  I suppose that’s a better problem to have rather than having undersubscribed classes.  I used many guest speakers to help ease my burden and they were easy to find since I was involved with the international women’s club.  Many people, very busy people with high profile jobs, stepped forward to give of their time to my eager, Kazakh students.  Both sides gained and I sat back and watched it all in amazement.

I’m skipping the part where I had to say goodbye to my dear students and my colleague friends.  It was a painful leavetaking for me.

I went home to be with family for Christmas.  Once back to Kazakhstan I teamed up with my husband to vacate our flat in Almaty to start a new job in Astana.  Ken was only too ready to leave polluted Almaty because he had suffered from bronchitis the year before and did not want a repeat performance of that malady.  I am glad that we put all the kitchen and bedding necessities in big plastic bags and suitcases and filled a whole coupe with it, plus us.  It would have been soooo very difficult to find replacements for things like plates, silverware and tablecloths, etc.  Why, because it was sooooo very cold once we got to Astana.  Disembarking from the train and being met by two drivers to take our things was very nice.  Also, to see our much bigger and newer living accommodations was an added bonus that came with my new job.

Starting a new university from scratch is never an easy thing to do. You can quote me on that!!! Many people have been working very hard to make this happen. I went on several recruiting trips in the spring to find qualified students to enter the first year. It also takes a LOT of money to pull this enterprise off.  Meanwhile the builders from Turkey have been working on the campus 24/7 to get the structure up and ready for mid-September classes to begin.

Now checking out the on-line resources and finetuning the software and hardware in each of the classrooms is the order of business.  Also, making sure the dorms and living accommodations for the teachers are in order is necessary to do.  In a very short time, there will be many people congregated in one place in the name of educating the future of this country of Kazakhstan.  Many different expectations go into this venture, may the results prove more than satisfactory for all concerned about the motherland of Kazakhstan.

However, just today I watched some video footage titled “Right to Kill” on YouTube about the carnage that happened in Kyrgyzstan in April in Bishkek and then again in Osh two months later.  I am deeply saddened that so many do not know the plight of these people who are still homeless and have no future hope.  I have it good, I’m dealing with future hope in these Kazakh and Kazakhstani students.

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