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unteer News¥e Volume Two October 1995 NARYN OBLAST First Edition fr mn Obl: Greetings to all of you with the first edition to come strictly from the Naryn Oblast. No more sharing with Issy-Kul. As we sit here typing this to you, we look out at the snow-covered tops of our beloved mountains. P.S. We are from Minnesota so anything we see here is a BIG mountain, We love it here, and Sheep and horse picture we are staying. It isn't as cold as you were ed ta. from the illustrated book belive and we eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. A goes here quote from one of our recent visitors, *! am glad | . came, because this is a beautiful glace. | will be back with more friends.” The hospitality is amazing, and the people all want to learn English. Because of the high demand, we both are very busy. The English Center is full of students everyday, and soon we will start different activities for the people of Naryn. Please take time out to relax and enjoy these articles. Have @ happy October and November! In This issue A Toast blah blah blah page 2 Various writings page 3 Interview with Virginia Wot page 4 Interview with Laurie Conn page § blah blah blah page 6 TEFL tips page 7 The LAST PAGE page 8 A dream in your pocket, Avwish in your shoe, A handful of stardust, A moonbeam or two, A rainbow of days, Shining perfect and new, May life bring all this And a lot more to you I f BILL BAME is brow A Good Laugh by Sara Bailey Since being in the Krygyz Republic I've had a few laughs, but I had not experienced that good laugh that makes tears come to your eyes. Tt starts out slowly but after you think about the comment or occurrence over and over again, it gets funnier and funnier. Suddenly you are rolling on the floor, holding your stomach and wiping your eyes. My first good laugh came after a game of Monopoly on a Saturday night. We were picking up the money and one of the other Volunteers(the man that runs with horses) stated, “My neighbors used to play Monopoly without the deeds." This comment just struck me as extraordinarily funny. 1 started laughing and thought of two 7 year-olds playing Monopoly as if it were Candyland. 1 kept laughing and giggling. of course it was contagious and the other Volunteer joined me. I was holding my stomach and we were blurting out comments like "That's like playing poker. without the cards." and “playing pool without the balls.* These weren’t as funny, but we kept giggling. After I had finally caught my breath and relaxed, I realized how good that had felt. That good laugh had lifted all the stress out of my body. 1 had forgotten lessons, hardships and worries to just feel good A good laugh is the best kind of stress relief and I recommend it to everyone. I also want to thank that fellow volunteer for sharing that comment and laugh with me. he letters TH A Typical Walk to School How many of you have a walk to school like the one I am about to tell you? Here we go. First, you walk outside your door and you see majestic mountains. Then you walk down a hill and see the largest river in Kyrghyzstan. When approaching this river, you have to cross a bridge that you question if it will hold your weight. You have to avoid the missing slats, so that you do not fall into the swiftly moving river. Next you climb a hill to Lenin street, and the first thing you must do is avoid the running horses and fresh cowpies. Next you have to say hello to all the children playing the wheel game as they run around you saying “Hello.”, “Hello.", "Hello." Now you are ten minutes from your school. But you have to stop and say hello to all the people you know and don’t know. Then you see the store that sells Albeni and cookies. Dang! Tt’s not open yet. So you continue on your walk, practicing the Kyrgyz you learned the day before, so when you get to school you can amaze the front doorman with your beautiful phonetics and American accent. As you practice, you must be careful when doing this because if you aren’t looking down or straight ahead, but instead looking at your book, you can either fall in a manhole or walk into the herd of sheep as they are being herded to market. Finally, in all its majesty there is your school. The doorman is waiting for his morning greeting, and you climb the stairs clutching your keys to begin another day of teaching. Cut ig Corners by Michelle Quackenbush I'm running my first lap at Spartak stadium. At 6:45 a.m., the air is sool. The Tien Shan are glowing pink, while the sun musters force on the track beneath my feet. A cleaning lady barks at an expat who hasn't been forewarned that sitting on concrete causes infertility. One of the regulars, Pyotr, comes up on my left offering his usual Russian, “Good Morning," and “How's the running going?" He matches my pace and we head along the length of the soccer field. As we xeach the bend, Pyotr cuts left across the width of the field, leaving me to puff around the corner. He is 75 and seemingly doesn't like being left in the wake of the more swift. He repeats the charade with several other runners over the next 10 minutes. At 7:20, a 7 a.m. university Phys. Ed class gathers. Their coach dutifully takes roll, then sends thenrunning around the track. Much to my surprise they skip the corners, too, Pyotr isn‘t out there demonstrating this feat for them. I spy him warming down by a goal post. ‘The coach has disappeared. As I'm warming down, I think about some of my students and the little things they do to get ahead. They dash off another instructor's assignment during my lesson. They read aloud at E=mc4 to impress but fail to answer correctly questions about the text They then bombard me with rhetorical questions and I find myself doing their thinking for them. My third semester as a PCV and I already feel defeated by the 19 or so years of socialization that have brought these students to this point at university. Unlike the Phys. Ed coach, I can't disappear or even turn away. My system doesn't cut the corner for these kids, but rather it exposes habits their system has nurtured and rewarded. It doesn't take long to notice that "appearances" are the norm here. Good teachers have excellent students, thus no one fails. The department publicly claims to use the books recently donated, but holds studestts responsible for Brezhnev-era material on which there will be an exam. The donated books remain locked away in a cabinet, to which there is a singular key, or sit in their donated boxes. Such fraud is rampant and not limited to the educational sphere, as you well know. You can't help but wonder how long before the facade melts away. K10? K20? My hope for this country rests in those students who openly discuss the good and the bad that they see. Some are future leaders. One, who just returned from the U of Nebraska, says he wants to be President. We may yet read about him. These are the types of students to focus on. As I zip my windbreaker up and head home for a cup of Nescafe’, I realize I can't neglect the others, but I cam help them be articulate in their speech and writing, if they'll let me. My fingers are crossed.