A clearer picture of Charles' future assignment is now available. His counterpart at Kyrgyz National University is a first year member of the English Department faculty. She is all of 23 years old and has just completed her own studies. Starting two days after he is sworn in as a PCV, Charles will have about 15 hours of planned work in composition and American Literature each week. He will also work on helping faculty and students prepare scholarship applications for study abroad in the West. Another responsibility will be starting up a debate club.

Charles has met his new host family. The family apartment is located in the Southeast part of Bishkek, a little farther from the center of the city than Charles expected but much more manageable than a commute from Novo Pokrovka. His new host family has six members; the parents are a banker and bookkeeper. Of the four children, three still live at home. The oldest, a daughter, is studying German so that she can move to Munich and work as a nanny. The next daughter is a first year university student studying English. The oldest son is finishing high school this year and will go on to study business at university. The youngest son is in 2nd form and just learning English. The apartment, as mentioned previously, has four rooms and a kitchen. Charles will be displacing someone but the apartment is large enough that it should not be too much of an imposition. It is on the first floor of the building so there is a patio in the back.

The first snowfall has occurred with about two inches falling.
     posted by Megan Harkness-Madole at 2:44 PM  |  

Charles has gotten his assignment in the English Department at Kyrgyz National University. He will be spending the next 5 days on site and with his new host family. Kyrgyz National University is where Charles did his practice teaching so he is all ready familiar with the site and the faculty.

All he knows about the new host family is that they live in a four room apartment. The Peace Corps does ensure a "private room" for its volunteers, so the family will live in the other three rooms while Charles has his own room.

A new snail mail address will be supplied as soon as Charles provides one. The previous address in Kant City is the Peace Corps Office. The new one will be with his new host family.
     posted by Megan Harkness-Madole at 8:10 PM  |  

Due to electrical and email issues, there is far less news to report than usual. However, I felt that people would like to know that Charles is still doing well and is involved in getting his final assignment.

After practice teaching, Charles received two gifts from his classes; one was a kalpak, a local type of hat and the other was a local form of jews harp. It was very kind of these students to give Charles gifts as none of them are any where near being well off.

His classes had a ratio of 10 women to 1 man; this is because most men are working and trying to earn a living. The competencies of his students varied widely from excellent to barely speaking. Charles feels that Kyrgyz National University is unlikely to be his final site. It will most likely be American University of Central Asia.

Multiple power outages and issues with the computers at the Peace Corps Office have led to some frustration on Charles' part for emailing during this past week. With the power outages, Charles is thankful for propane powered stoves. He is looking forward to receiving his sleeping bag at some point as there is no heat when the power is out; it was sent right after he left for Kyrgyzstan but surface mail is very, very slow.

Charles has had his first experiences with mailing packages back to the USA. Megan received two rolls of film a week ago; she has no idea what the USPS thought of it as there were no distinguishable marks, not even stamps, on the package except for her address! Charles also mailed a few Christmas gifts back and learned that the Kyrgyz would like to look into the box before it is sealed and then they tied it all up in string! This should wreck havoc on the USPS automated system.

After spending much more time on his Russian, Charles feels that he is making progress. This is a very good thing as the training period is almost done. Charles will receive his assignment this upcoming week and the weekend of the 15th through the 19th will be at his site. He has also learned that he will spend the next six months with another host family; hopefully this one will be more inclusive than his current one, although the married son and his wife are very good.

Thanksgiving will be a potluck spent with the K-10 class of PCVs who are coming into Bishkek for mid term reviews; Charles is in the K-11 class.

November is much like November in Minnesota: cloudy and chill.

The two rolls of film have been developed and the pictures are great; unfortunately, unless you are in the social studies class that Charles is corresponding with, you will have to wait until Megan figures out the html code that she needs to use to post them. Many thanks if you can point me in the direction of how to post the pictures.
     posted by Megan Harkness-Madole at 6:28 PM  |  


Charles In