I saw a dog and several roosters and a couple donkeys and well just about every other kind of animal today. Greetings from Sovet, on the opposite side of the world, where one is required to eat at least six meals a day because one lacks the vocabulary to turn neighbors down graciously. I did learn "thank you, I'm full" in a hurry. We also make way for the sheep going to pasture and coming home.
I'm learning Kazakh as my initial language in a village about an hour outside of Almaty, the big city. Sovet is right up against the foothills of the mountains, and it's lovely. There are about three thousand people, most of whom are children. Everywhere we go, kids shout "Allo! Allo! What is your name? I love you!" There are six other volunteers and our language/cultural trainer, Sultanat in in Sovet. We're all pretty tight. When we want to email, we take the bus down to Esik. When we want to do something we meet at the school.
There's too much to tell - I don't know if I'll ever catch you up on all there is to see and everything that's happened. But I'll start off by telling about our mapmaking excursion a couple days ago. Jon and Ryan live on the East side of town, and they get to school using animals as landmarks. Not smart, I tell them, because the animals move. They walk under the cherry trees parallel to the mountains and the scrap metal piles, until they reach the ditch (we helped dig it earlier). There's flowing water everywhere in Sovet. Then, they turn right at the giant hemp patch where Rasta donkey used to graze, down (North) past the pool where some boys are constantly swimming and under the honeysuckle arbor to the school.
I just walk a bit up (toward the mountains), since my house is just beneath the miktiep. We met there and started weaving through the streets, making maps so the medical staff can find us easily if they need to. It was more a social activity than anything. We stopped and picked up Teresa, whose host granddad just had his teeth pulled yesterday. They'll be replace with gold soon, like most of the people's teeth in the village. They were about to serve us tea, but we convinced them that we'd all just had second lunch and needed to keep going. At Yasameen's house, we made an appointment to have tea the next day.
We finished our maps, and climed a mountain the next day to look down on Sovet, but I'm out of time. We need to catch the bus back home again. I'll describe a tea at Yasameen's house later.
Hope you're all doing well! Love, Susan