Posts tagged Atyrau

Chapters in the new book “Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt”

Drinking Camel's Milk coverI finished reading the new book “Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt.” I found it fascinating that this little book has so many good themes to keep it together, but that is what Kazakhstan is all about. A huge, expansive country with intricately woven topics of human drama throughout, from Almaty to Astana to Atyrau.

One of my favorites to read was the very first chapter titled “First Snow” by Jacyntha England, it was the only one that made me cry. The generosity of the Kazakhs and their kindnesses that are so unexpected at times is what makes this huge country so enigmatic. There were a few other Kazakhs that were too shrewd for their own good, in other words, they were NOT kind.

Yes, I also liked the chapter titled “Dromophobia” about the gypsy cabs. I took this form of transportation all the time when I lived in not only Kazakhstan but also in Kyiv, Ukraine. It was like sneaking in hitchhiking which we would NEVER do these days in the U.S. Taking cab rides from total strangers was the natural way to go, very efficient rather than using the city bus system. Admittedly, I had seen noticeable improvements in bus transport over the years in Kazakhstan since when I first arrived in 1993 compared to 2010. Still, either walking or hailing cabs was the way to navigate in the big cities of Almaty and Astana.

The one final chapter titled “The Long Horse Ride” by two people was also a favorite for me and I read a part of it to two of my classes today. The reason was I have many equine science students and they could easily relate to how these two horse riders traversed the Kazakhstan deserts to reach a goal, a personal goal. During their long ride, they went to Aralsk and saw the dried up Aral sea. Also, they came close to Baikonur, the space station where Uri Gagarin had shot up as a cosmonaut 50 years before their arrival. They experienced the kindnesses of the Kazakh nomad and the loneliness of the open spaces, being protected from howling wolves and offered camel’s milk for nourishment.

I don’t have the book in front of me because I lent it to my mom to read. In any case, I liked the chapter about the American woman who went to Kazakhstan to adopt children or at least helped with those children who were in orphanages. That was touching also.

I sent an extra copy of the new book about Kazakhstan to my Minnesota friend Kim living out in California. She enjoyed reading the chapter about our conversation on the top of Kok Tobe. She claimed I wrote down accurately what we had discussed those several hours spent up on the “Blue Ceiling” of Almaty back in June of 2008. Of course, it helped that I went directly home and blogged about our talk soon afterwards. Actually, I wished I had taken more notes while up on Kok Tobe during our picnic lunch because we talked a LOT more about different things concerning Kazakhstan and their illustrious people than what I actually documented.

Lesson I learned from that experience is to carry a notepad with you at ALL times. You never know when a well-informed interview might take place that will eventually find its way into a print edition of a future book. I had no idea that THAT particular noon day picnic what we talked on would become a chapter with other informative chapters in the book “Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt.” Check it out on Amazon.com yourself, especially if you are interested in other cultures, especially this little known, tucked away one in the middle of Central Asia. May there be many more books such as these for future inquisitive souls.

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Assel’s Grandfather in Great Patriotic War

In my big family, our authority and source of pride for us was and will always be my grandfather. His name is Amangaliyev Kalesh, and he was a participant of Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. All of us, that is grandchildren, grew up hearing his interesting, sometimes terrible stories about Patriotic War. During his stories I would always observe that he had sad eyes, and at that moment I always understood all the depth of his sorrow. I think, sorrow about his lost friends, who died to get for us desirable freedom!

Amangaliyev Kalesh was born in West Kazakhstan in Atyrau on 1924. According to the family photos I think in his youth he was very smart guy. He was tall and had a beautiful face. I think many girls dreamed to get married to him. At school he was a talented pupil. According to his stories he liked literature and mathematics, the exact sciences. Sometimes I think, if there had been no War, he would have been a professor of mathematics or physics. But in 1941 the Great Patriotic War began and he was seventeen.

My grandfather was sent to the War with his father. But his father didn’t come back from the War, since his father was considered as “lost without trace.” From the beginning of the War my grandpa was determined to be a marine, because he was tall, height 1,85-1,90 and had strong health. Initially the base of Baltic fleet was in Cromshtad near Leningrad. He was a chief commander of a ship named as “Sea Hunter.” As I mentioned that base of Baltic fleet was near Leningrad, and almost all of his stories are connected with this town. It seems to me that one of the exciting (for me), but at that time sad story told by my grandpa was that he witnessed the famous “Siege of Leningrad.” At that time Moscow gave an important meaning to the marine, as a powerful force, so they provided Baltic fleet with food, clothes and etc.

My grandpa and his best friend from Ukraine, Sasha Kovalchuk, were imperceptible from the enemies. They shared their foods and provided goods, clothes and other necessary things with hungry families and the population of Leningrad, the victims of the siege. But sadness of this story was that one day when they went to Leningrad with provision and clothes one of the German officers shot down the Soviet people. In that exchange of fire the best friend of my grandpa, Sasha Kovalchuk, died. Grandpa always tells us that Sasha was a great singer, that during the nights without sleep Sasha sang songs about home, about their girlfriends, about their mums that waited for them at home. I think it was very hard to lose his best friend with whom he shared food, clothes, with whom he reconnoitered.

My grandpa finished the War with the Baltic fleet in The Far East on 1948. After that he came home to Kazakhstan, especially to Atyrau. I consider that special pride of grandpa in his awards, medals. Here some of them: “For defense of Leningrad,” “For emancipation of Keninzberg (Kaliningrad),” “For fighting merits,” “Order of Patriotic War” and many, many other medals.

Every year when we celebrate May 9 Victory Day, my grandpa wears his suit with many medals on his breast and I feel a deep gratitude and great pride that he is my grandpa.

In conclusion, I want to say that without our grandfathers and grandmothers we would not be living in such a civilized country as Kazakhstan. And I hope that my grandfather and other veterans of Wars will live many, many years, because they won the life under the peaceful blue sky!!!

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Final Advice from Mukan’s Grandparents

First of all, I want to say that I’m very happy guy, because both of my grandparents are still alive. My Grandfather from my mother’s side I know about him not so much only that he was born in Gurev(Atyrau), at 15 years old he lost his parents and with his little sister he moved to Almaty. After he graduated from school in Almaty he wanted to marry my grandmother, but her parents refused because my grandfather was graduated only from school. That is why my grandfather entered to Moscow State University to agricultural faculty. When he returned to Almaty, he got married to my grandmother and started to work in the meat-packing factory as a specialist. When I was born, he had been director of that meat-packing factory. Now he is retired.

My grandfather from the father side was born in Almaty. In his young age he lost his father. So my greatgrandmother brought up my grandfather and his sister. After he graduated from school, my granddad entered to the University of National Economy in Almaty. After it he had upgreats in Moscow. Then he started working in cabinet council as a specialist. But he couldn’t advance there. The reason was that my great-grandfather had been owner of livestock. When Soviet party began to expropriate land and livestock, my great-grandfather had migrated to China. Then in China during the civil war, the Soviet party won. They also wanted to expropriate my great-grandfather’s livestock. He went back to Kazakhstan. That’s why my great-grandfather had a bad reputation. Because of that my grandfather couldn’t advance in his job. After some years working there he tried and so decided to move to another job of brickworks. And till the retiring he worked there.

My grandmother from my mother’s side, also known to me not so good. She was born in Gurev(Atyrau) as was my grandfather. Then she moved to Almaty for education. And till retiring worked in patent office in Almaty.

Finally, my last grandmother from my father side. She was born in Ushtobe. She has a sister and brother. She also moved to Almaty for education. She studied in Pedagogical Institute. Then she worked in publishing house as redactor. She published a lot of books for example Chemistry for 10, 11 grade. After retiring she continued teaching in the Almaty state university as teacher of chemistry. And still she is teaching there. Grandmother’s father also was redactor, but of newspaper. He worked during WWII and wrote a lot of patriotical topics. And when I was born he was still alive. As I remember he was very strong person – man of honour. But he died 7-10 years ago. My grandmother’s biography is in publisher’s encyclopaediа.

I’m not so clever as they. They taught us and showed us the way. For example: my grandfather from the father’s side, said that I must know not only present situation, but also the past is necessary. That’s why he traveled 2-3 years ago all over Kazakhstan to make our family-tree. And he did it. I’m very proud of my grandparents.

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