Sunday, May 8, 2011

site announcement!

i know where i am going to spend the next two years!

talk about excitement.

i am headed to a city in the Karaganda Oblast called:


A little info for you about my new home:

 Zhezkazgan has about 96,900 people.
 Z. is located smack dab in the middle of kaz. if you took your finger and put it in the center of the map, you would
probably find z.
 it is 315 miles from Karaganda, the capital of the oblast. (that is also my nearest kaz 23 volunteers)
 60.8% of the pop is kazakh, 27.2% is russian
 there are parks, restaurants, shops, a bazaar, a bus line, a swimming pool & sports center, a public banya, a movie
theater!, bowling, and a lake that you can rent kayaks in the summer from or go ice-fishing in the winter. ☺
 it has 'extreme continental weather'. avg temp in july is 75 and 3.2 in january. it can get as hot as 104 in the summer and
as cold as -40 in the winter. woo!
 it is home to the copper conglomerate Kazakkhyms

My placement info:

i am going to be teaching in an industrial college. i will be the thrid volunteer to teach at this college, which means that the college probably won't get another volunteer after me. my job will be work with the awesome projects the awesome vlounteers already have going there and try to make them sustainable. there are a few other volunteers already working in Z. or in the nearby Satpaev. So even though i am the only kaz 23 to go there, i will def. not be alone. from everything i have heard from my regional manager and current volunteers it sounds like this group is really great. i'm very lucky.

i totally thought i was heading to the south so this was an unexpected turn of events. it was a lot to absorb. it is cool too because now i am not that far from the other trainees from my training village. i can take an overnight train into karaganda. there are four kaz 23s that will be right around there. and then from karaganda to astana (the capital of kaz) there is a fast train that is only 3 ½ hours. some of my fellow ecik trainees live only an hour or less away from astana. it sounds like a long trip, but in a huge country like kaz that is really pretty close.

the other kaz 23s that are coming to my region are awesome. it is really strange that there are three kaz 23s from nova. me from woodbridge and will and david from fairfax. somehow we all ended up in the same oblast! i think we are going to have an awesome time. i'm super stoked about it.

so now this week our counterparts will come into town and we will have counterpart conference with them. it is sure to be interesting and awkward. we will work on lesson plans, teaching strategies, and other teacher-training-ish stuff. we leave ecik for almaty on wednesday. i am super nervous about getting my bags there. i have a lot of stuff. and a giant yurt dollhouse. :) we will stay in almaty at the sanetorium for the rest of the week for counterpart conference. then on saturday? we will officailly swear-in as volunteers. so stoked. on sunday i will hop on a train to zhezkazgan. it should only be a 33-hour train ride. ;) this week is gonna be crazy, busy, fun, and exciting, but it will also be bittersweet.

in other news:

i went to almaty with a big group of kaz 23 trainees last night to celebrate our site announcement. in order to get up to the 12th floor of our super sketch apartment we had to climb in a super sketch elevator. the elevators here are the size of a small pantry and smell like cat pee. we crammed five of us on to this elveator. we were the last group to start heading up. the eleveator buzzed for a minute and then all the lights went out and we were stuck in the dark. thank goodness phones in kaz have flashlights on them. at first it was rather frightnening because we weren't sure what floor we were on. when we realized we were on the first floor it was mostly just hot and uncomfortable.

we called the other trainees and immediately a rescue mission ensued. through the crack in the door we saw frisbees, hangers, spatulas, and toilet paper roll holders coming through trying to pry the door open. david even climbed into the shaft from above, but there isn't a hatch door like in american elveators. there was a light that had been wired down that i'm pretty sure my hips wouldn't have fit through anyways.

we made a good time of it anyways. we listened to music and played games. it was me, cody, and arthur from ecik. and then brittany and will who will be in my new oblast with me. it was a fab opportunity to get to know them. two hours later a dispatcher finally arrived and we made it out, safe and sound and only slightly more smelly than when we got on.

all in all it was a fab night. let the packing commence,


  1. so excited for your new site. I know you will be missing your new friends though. Love reading your adventures!!