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Americanski Bill Bame - June 2008

June 01, 2008 | 0 Comments | 7 Min Read

By Friends of Kyrgyzstan Friends of Kyrgyzstan is a registered 501(c)3 organization and is not associated with the United States Peace Corps.

Americanski Bill Bame - June 2008

Get ready for Peace Corps at 50!

In 2011 Peace Corps will turn 50 and we are already starting to plan! First there will be a “staging” in Washington DC for a long weekend. Then those that can, will travel to Kyrgyzstan for a reunion there. If you are interested in being a part of planning this reunion and what it will entail (service projects, visits to current volunteers, etc.), please let the board know so you can be on the 50th anniversary celebration committee!

Adopt a volunteer program

Recently Mid-states representative Alice Lee took on a new project. She decided to establish an adopt a volunteer program. The simple idea of the program is to match returned volunteers that want to stay connected with Kyrgyzstan with currently serving volunteers who can benefit from their experience and emergency shipments of Mac and Cheese and good markers. I asked Alice to find me a volunteer to adopt. I wanted to reconnect with my Peace Corps service and help a currently serving volunteer. I remember how happy my days were when I received a care package and how on those days the village seemed a little less cold and bleak and far from home.

Alice paired me up with Erin McFee who is serving as a health volunteer in Kochkor, Naryn Oblast. Erin is quite accomplished. She is originally from Connecticut but graduated from Elon University in North Carolina.

During her studies, she studied abroad in China, London and Ghana. In Ghana, she interned with an Aids research NGO. Her interest in health issues led her to become a health volunteer. Health volunteers are new in Kyrgyzstan and experiencing some of the same frustrations that were common with the sustainable economic development (SED) volunteers during my service.

Erin has struggled with not having much to do in her official ‘job’ and with the language barrier. Erin, like many SED volunteers before her, has had to strike out on her own to find ways to bring value to her community. She is teaching English, working with a tourism group, and planning a basketball summer camp for summer 2009.

Some things stay the same and some things change. Erin seems to have much more reliable and frequent access to the internet and even has a blog, but Peace Corps has established strict guidelines on content so she has to limit access to it. It strikes me how technology is changing Kyrgyzstan, but so many of the basic services we in the west rely upon — plumbing, reliable electricity, decent phone lines are still not there. Cell towers are going up in areas that have never had reliable high quality phone lines, leap frogging the progression of technology. I am enjoying learning from Erin what things are the same and what has changed. I hope this program grows and more RPCVs can enjoy helping a current volunteer and more current volunteers take advantage of those of us who want to support them.

Congratulations Amy Redwine!

Many of us will never know the impact we had on students and colleagues in Kyrgyzstan. That is not the case with K-6, Amy Redwine. Amy made a real commitment to her core group of students and helped them continue their studies with financial and moral support. One of her students, Umut Orozalieva (pictured below), recently graduated from the American University of Central Asia.

Friends of Kyrgyzstan on Facebook!

Are you a member of the social networking site Facebook? Not only is Facebook a fun way to keep in touch with your RPCV friends but it is now another fundraising opportunity for Friend of Kyrgyzstan. If you search for Friends of Kyrgyzstan as a cause on Facebook, you will find our not so small cause. Our Facebook cause has 139 members and is growing! Julie recently made the challenge for the group of raising $500 (the amount of our last grant to Kyrgyzstan) by the end of June. So far on Facebook we have raised $275. Can you help us reach our goal?

Did you know?

Did you know that you can become an official member of Friends of Krygyzstan even if you are not an RPCV? Now friends of PCVs, Families of PCVs and other interested parties can now join Friends of Krygyzstan for just $15 a year. Did you know that you can now join Friends of Krygyzstan without joining the National Peace Corps Association? If you want to help Friends of Kyrgyzstan but can’t afford the NPCA dues (or simply don’t want to join the NPCA) you can now join Friends of Kyrgystan for $15 a year.

Order your Peace Corps International 2009 Calendar Now!

We have just received a shipment of 50 copies of the beautiful calendars that the RPCVs of Wisconsin put together each year. The calendars are $12, which includes domestic shipping. Help us make this fundraiser a success by ordering one for yourself and a few to give away as gifts! 2009 will be here sooner than you realize! To order your calendar contact Julie Rotherham at julielusher@yahoo.com. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to fund another grant to a Peace Corps Partnership Project in Kyrgyzstan.

Have a story to tell? An announcement? Or just want to tell us what you are up to now? Submit it to Linda Lee to be included in the next edition at lindalee_b@yahoo.com

Order your Peace Corps International 2009 Calendar Now!

Our grant to Kind Family Children Home

Friends of Kyrgyzstan recently received the final report on the grant we gave to the Kind Family Children Home for the purchase of farm equipment. The grant we sent was $500 of the total of $7,000 donated.

The project is expected to benefit over 5,000 individuals, most of them orphans. With this investment in farm Equipment, the orphanage will be much more sustainable and less dependent on donations for the basic necessity of food.

Thank you to all our members who made donations to this worthy cause.

We are over 1/2 way to making a new grant! Please consider making a donation to help another Peace Corps Volunteer make another dream a reality.

Donations can be made out to FOKGZ and mailed to Friends of Kyrgyzstan, 1104 Applebriar Lane, Marlborough, MA 01752.

Peace Corps Writers at peacecorpswriters.org

Check out Peace Corps Writers for updates on what RPCV’s in Kyrgyzstan and other Peace Corps Countries are writing and what you should pick up at the bookstore.

The site features a wonderful resource section which includes a bibliography of Peace Corps authors where you can look up authors by name and find a list of their works. You can also find a list of books for kids written by PCVs, books about the Peace Corps Experience, short works, and other resources including a list by country of service. The list isn’t complete and they are always accepting new additions to the list.

Here are the books listed written by Kyrgyzstan RPCVs:

  • Alexander Klaits (Kyrgyz Republic 1995–97), Love and War in Afghanistan, with Gulchin Gulmamadova-Klaits, Seven Stories Press, 2005

  • Megan Mentrek (Kyrgyz Republic 2002–04), A Life Inspired: Tales of Peace Corps Service, contributor, DC: Peace Corps/USGPO, 2006

  • Kurt S. Olsson (Kyrgyzstan 1996–98), What Kills What Kills Us, Silverfish Review Press, 2007

  • Craig Redmon (Kyrgyzstan 1995–96), At Home in the World: The Peace Corps Story, contributor, Peace Corps/USGPO, 1996

  • Robert Rosenberg (Krgyzstan 1994–96), This Is Not Civilization: A Novel, Houghton Mifflin, 2004; Marine Books, 2005

This is not a complete list of books written by Kyrgyz RPCVs — please submit any missing ones for inclusion on their site.

Download the original .doc of this newsletter here.


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Friends of Kyrgyzstan is a registered 501(c)3 organization and is not associated with the United States Peace Corps. The views and information expressed here are our own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of either the United States Peace Corps or it’s volunteers.