It seems necessary for me to explain how the roads are constructed here. It was one of the most "shocking" things that I noticed and have continued to experience since my arrival.
Let me describe the streets here in my village:
-dozens and dozens of pot holes beyond belief. Some of them are several feet across and inches deep.
-the road itself is a combination of dirt/mud, rocks, sort of asphalt, and trash. The erosion is like nothing I have ever seen before! When it rains or the snow melts there is literally a rushing river of water flowing down the street.
-no lines in the road to indicate a right or left lane
-no stop signs
-no signs in general of any sort. This means that there is an implied yielding system to intersections / pedestrians.
-no traffic lights
- no sidewalks. So as a pedestrian you walk in the road and when you hear a car coming you make your way into the "grassy side of the road" area until the car passes. If the car wants you to move they just honk at you and sometimes almost hit you. Haha
-the main roads have pot holes too even though they are paved. And it seems like the reason that lines in the road (or lanes in general) won't work is because the path of the car is determined by dodging pot holes. So you sort of snake around them and try not to hit cars. And that is a loose term. You literally can drive in any way you want to as long as you don't hit another car. It makes me nervous....to say the least.
The view from my window is interesting. It is a chicken house? Or coop? I don't know...whatever chickens live in. Anyway, I wake up every morning to the call to prayer as well as roosters. There are probably 15-20 hens and roosters in this particular neighbers yard. I watch them walk around and eat and "mate" or whatever is going on with that. That has been an interesting thing to get used to. The sort of "farm" element to being here.
We have an indoor / outdoor cat that lives in my house and I found out that she is pregnant with kittens! I probably won't be here to see them be born (which is fine) and I found out she was pregnant because she threw up in my room. My family then informed me that it was morning sickness. I also have a theory that it could be the beef and potato dinner leftovers that were in her cat dish the night before. VERY common to feel animals leftover human food of all sorts.
One thing that I am having a hard time adjusting to mentally, is the fact that even though we have an indoor toilet with running water - you can't flush toilet paper. For some reason, it is really hard for me to get used to having to wrap my toilet paper and throw it in the trashcan in the bathroom. It feels more comfortable to just go outside in the squat toilet and toss it down the hole or whatever is supposed to be done. This was sort of an unexpected mental block. Haha.
The last thing I will say is that living in this culture requires a person to be very thoughtful. That is the best way I can summarize the necessary mentality. You have to be thoughtful about what you are wearing, how you speak, what you say, who you are speaking to, how clean your shoes are, if your clothes are ironed, etc. ESPECIALLY as a Peace Corps affiliated person. I am constantly watched and things about me are noted.
Now I will spend my day off cleaning, studying, ironing, and watching the snow.
Kazakhstan Fun Fact: Rules of Flowers
1. Funeral - even number of flowers
2. Everything Else - odd number of flowers
red - love
white - innocence
Peace Corps Blog.
click above to play a traditional Kazakh song that I really like called the Karajorga. It is very popular and there is a traditional dance that is performed with it as well.
March 8, 2011 -
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