Posts tagged Charyn Canyon

Lecture on Leadership and Volunteerism

PA290071Thanks to my Aussie friend who stepped in to give a lecture to my masters students last night. Kathy Banham (holding the flowers) is the president of AIWC (Almaty International Women’s Club).  She knows of what she speaks as a leader but also working with a group of many volunteers from all over the world.  I appreciated her consenting to be videotaped.  She spoke about her work and leadership experiences from the past that ultimately led her to Almaty, Kazakhstan with her husband’s job, but especially liked hearing her answer my students’ many questions.PA290062

But before Kathy spoke, I showed the class what Kathy’s next door  neighbor, Julia, had talked about the day before, Kazakh carpets.  I was mystified, along with Julia, why the production of carpets had stopped in the mid-1970s.  Kirill, a masters student,  matter-of-factly answered that question.  The Soviets did not want any country within the Soviet Union to freely express their artform of their former nationality.  To be politically correct in the Soviet times, all must see themselves as Soviet citizens and the Kazakh carpet challenged that notion.  Mystery solved but I am still wondering about when bride kidnapping started and why.  Seems that if the carpet had been a tradition for many centuries to be the brides dowry, then to short circuit that meant she didn’t have to make a carpet which took a year to build.  Also, perhaps during the Soviet times, the materials would have been difficult to come by, everyone was suffering.

Back to Kathy’s talk. She covered many points about her favorite place in Kazakhstan was Charyn Canyon (east of Almaty about 3 hours) and that she had been there eight times already.  She said that travel outside of one’s own country is an important stretching experience. Also, if you don’t know the language, a smile goes a LONG way to communicate, along with hand gestures.  Much else was captured on videotape.  I think we all appreciated her strong leadership views and I found out something else about Kathy I didn’t know before.  She is the oldest of six children and has three sisters and two brothers, as do I.

We both already knew that we perhaps share the same birthday even to within a day.  At least we are the same year and month and if we figured out time zone differences between Australia and Minnesota in the U.S. we might have been born within an hour apart.  (We both have not found out from our mothers when the exact hour of our births were to compare) How many people can say they have a birth sister?  Kathy is a very lovely leader who is a Super Volunteer. Thanks Kathy!

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Great Wedding Dresses from Kazakhstan

red wedding dressblue wedding dressThese are traditional Kazakh wedding dresses one can buy at Tsum department store in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  I don’t understand all the intricacies of the patterns and designs but I think they are very pretty.  Usually brides nowadays use a western style wedding dress.  It’s lovely to see the dresses that were used in earlier, happier years.  The girl in mosaic below was taken from a place along the way to Charyn Canyon.  I thought it was colorful and showed the traditional style which young, Kazakh girls used to wear.girl mosaic

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Reprise: Charyn Canyon Photos

The following were photos taken a few weekends ago by the leader of our group who led our bus tour to Charyn Canyon in eastern Kazakhstan, thanks Jonathan!shadows-of-the-valleythe-many-shapes-of-charyn-valleyiman-exploring-charyn-valleyanyone-want-to-go-fishing-with-meinside-the-bus-charyn-canyons-april-2009

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Going to and from the Charyn Canyon

Part of our trip on Saturday was what we saw going to the Charyn Canyon then returning to Almaty. long-windy-pathTwo photos I WISHED I had taken but didn’t were the following: 1) young teenage girl, accompanied by three guys, wearing short shorts, tank top, pantyhose, and stiletto heels. Did she ever look uncomfortable walking the canyon!!! (Also, saw older Kazakhs walking in their stockings or nylons without their shoes on, obviously they came unprepared for hiking with uncomfortable street shoes.) 2) Kazakh man managing his little shashlik stand with the seasoned meat in skewers over the smoky embers. (that was our supper before we went back to Almaty). No, those pictures weren’t taken and next time I’ll be more proactive to capture that Kodak moment. Like I did the other day when I snapped two photos of the little children in the playground.roadstand-before-canyonburro-and-cart




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Charyn Canyon in east Kazakhstan

resting-spot-in-canyon1Many variants on how to spell the canyon I went to yesterday, I like calling it Kazakhstan’s “Little Grand Canyon.” More shots of yesterday’s event of going to this place that is not too far from the Chinese border, very gopher-hole-and-flowersremote! Raining today so I’m glad we went on a sunny day yesterday though it is much drier at Charyn Canyon than in Almaty.  Almost to the canyon I observed out my bus window men carrying large white sacs on their back, turns out they were harvesting wild green onions in selling along the road side. The lilac trees were in various stages of blooming along the little villages close to the road and the mountains were to our south in a wide panoramic view from my bus seat. What a great day for an adventure outside of the city. As you can see all signs are in three languages, Kazakh, Russian and English.


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