To celebrate my group of K-23’s heading out to our permanent sites next week and the Completion of Service for the outgoing K-21 group, the Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan Country Director, Tammi Harris, had a big toi (celebration) at her home in Bishkek. Me and a couple friends from Kengesh caught a mashrutka to the city around noon and spent a few hours wandering around the bazaar before finding our way to Tammi’s.
It took us quite a while to find the right place, but eventually we found it with Tammi’s husband’s Ural motorcycle, complete with sidecar, parked outside. Tammi is also from South Dakota (small world, right?) and is very sympathetic toward a Sturgis native’s plight of being motorcycleless. She said that while she can’t make any exceptions to the policy, I could sit on the Ural and make vroom sounds. I took her up on the offer.
Their home is in a beautiful residential area with courtyards and villas that I’m certain are home to some pretty distinguished diplomats from around the world. There’s a large yard where most everyone mingled and an above ground pool that looked pretty inviting, but unfortunately I forgot my suit. Best of all was the bbq pit where the hosts had prepared two pigs for our intense enjoyment. As much as I enjoyed the pork and four kinds of barbeque sauce, I can’t imagine how the K-21’s felt about it; they’ve been in country for a full 27 months.
And nearly everyone – K-21’s, K-22’s, K-23’s, staff, embassy folks, and even some Peace Corps big wigs from Washington – was there. I had a great time chatting with the volunteers who have been around the block getting their advice and insight. I tracked down most of the current volunteers serving in Talas to get whatever inside information I could. I even got some of the latest Talassip (Talas-gossip, copywrited).
Those of us still in training are bound by a 9:00 curfew, so I had to head out a little before 8:00, but in all the get together was a lot of fun and I met a ton of people that will be a big part of my life over the next two years.