My husband is the scout in our family, he is the one who leads and goes before me. He did in 1992 when he first was assigned to Almaty, Kazakhstan through USDA. I followed in May of 1993 when I was the first Peace Corps trainer to English teachers. We met my second day in country. Peace Corps has since left Kazakhstan as of several years ago supposedly because they had progressed from third world status. I have my suspicions that it was no longer safe for young female volunteers to be placed in the countryside. (note my keen interest in human trafficking issues in my more recent posts)
My husband was the nomad again in the fall of 2007 as he scouted out the territory in Almaty and gave me blow-by-blow accounts of what he was experiencing in Kazakhstan at KIMEP university. Not an easy place to live especially after having lived in Kyiv, Ukraine for 6-7 years of the last ten years. Many similarities, of course, but many differences due to the influence of the Soviet Union empire.
I have joined my husband in Almaty in October 2007, I was able to see for myself all the changes that had occurred in the town of our courtship from the early 1990s. The subsequent blog posts after my arrival to Kazakhstan were my own impressions and photos of this GREAT country of Kazakhstan!!!
UPDATE as of June 1, 2013: I have been away from Kazakhstan since spring of 2011 when I left my teaching position Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. I had a one year contract to teach ten Kazakh teachers in a Professional Development program that I had put together using all media sources available to me. We used Moodle and worked with academic research databases for writing research papers. Much the same as what I am doing back in northwestern Minnesota with Korean and Chinese students as well as Americans in their first year of studies.
As you can see, my attention has changed from writing about Kazakhstan and I have focussed more about human trafficking. The reason being is that I believe there is a spirit of “slavery” existing in the countries of Central Asia. I would hope with better education people in the former Soviet Union would be aware of the risks and dangers involved with trusting strangers who say there are good jobs to be found to get them out of their poverty. My heart goes out to those in the countryside who want a better life but are snatched up by people who have no morals. I have found the same is going on in the Midwest as well. Traffickers know no boundaries, this is a GLOBAL issue.
Perhaps one day my husband and I will return to Kazakhstan…for now I wait to write a book that I have collected stories about Ukraine and Kazakhstan titled “Unbroken Souls.” Stay tuned!