After a whirlwind week of new… well, everything… I was very much ready for the weekend by the time it arrived. Tori, a K-22 Volunteer in the nearby village of Bakai Ata invited any of the Volunteers who could make it to hang out, eat American food, and not have to translate in their head before speaking.
On Saturday afternoon I walked down to the highway, caught a ride with a friendly guy from Kirovka, switched rides at the corner with the wizard statue (he’s probably not a wizard, but he sure looks like it), and got dropped off in front of the government offices or “White House” as every main administration building is called in Kyrgyzstan. Then I called Hännah, a Volunteer from my group who is placed in Bakai Ata as well.
“Hey, I made it to town. Is there somewhere I can meet you?”
“Great! We can meet by the tank.”
“I’m sorry, the what?”
I did a 360 from where I was standing in front of the White House and sure enough, only a block away was a big Soviet tank sitting on a pedestal.
“Oh, yeah, ok. I’ll meet you by the tank.”
After only a few minutes of waiting, I met up with Hännah and she showed me the way to Tori’s place. Tori is lucky to have the equivalent of a guest house to her self at her host family’s home. It’s a nice place with a coal burning stove, a hot plate for cooking, and an agitator for doing laundry. There is no running water though, so I was on water hauling duty. We played some card games and had macaroni and cheese, chocolate chip cookies, and coffee.
It was pretty cool to see how settled in and self-sufficient a Volunteer can become in a year and the day off gave me all the energy I need to make it through the next week.