Monday 6th July
Totally forgot to write about the toilet incident in the mountains. How could I forget? These toilets were not pleasant. They weren’t dirty as such but being mere holes in the ground surrounded by a tiled floor and concrete walls with the heat of the day and the volume of people they created a foul stench and swarmed with files. Nevertheless Sarah and I decided to brave them one last time before departing on the bus, there being no suitable bushes in walking distance. As I waited outside for Sarah three women approached and despite my attempted protests entered. Sarah escaped with her dignity but as I waited outside they beckoned me in. Unable to refuse I ended up squatted next to a strange woman while the other two smoked, presumably to get rid of the files. Probably the one useful reason for smoking. I heard the words angli and amerikcanka banded about and could only assume that they were talking about me. Well I couldn’t go. I was then faced with the dilemma of how to pull up my shorts without completely exposing myself to which I found no solution. They didn’t even avert their eyes. As I went to leave one asked in English where I was from and my age. I departed to the sound of laughter after replying 22. I hope that they were drunk, as I suspect, and that is not normal practice.
Tuesday 7th July
Ending today with a feeling that can only be described with the expression ‘blerug’. I feel like a spare part at my placement and though the staff say that they want us to do all this exciting stuff with the children they don’t help us do it. They don’t promote the sessions and today we were pulled out half way through to help peel potatoes and then had to pack up half an hour early so that they could set out a birthday meal. My memory stick has a recurring virus so I can’t use it anymore and I’m stressed about losing my files. The teach first application is stressing me out too. Though as mum said I did rather bring hat one on myself. Met the leader of the Young Korean Association after work with Grace, Sarah and Kate, more for something to do than any good reason. He said he wanted to practice his English but was disappointed by the absence of any Kazakh volunteers. I just feel so frustrated here on a number of levels, though admittedly language difficulties are the cause of most of these frustrations. For example if the anti-virus weren’t all in Russian I could probably sort the blimmin thing out myself.
Wednesday 8th July
No playing with the children today which suits me in its way but it is the reason that we are here. Nina was needed to help type a document (the staff will never learn to type at a reasonable speed if they keep getting someone else to do it) and I was left with three shelves of filing from the last 2 years which needed to be ordered by family name according to the Russian alphabet. In
Friday 10th July
Beth and Dinara’s GCD on Human Rights began with the GX Team 93 Declaration of Human Rights
- Freedom of thought (Rory)
- Right to rest and leisure time (Nina)
- Free primary education (Grace)
- Right to life (Olga)
- Right to food and water (Sarah)
- Right to shelter (Kate)
- Freedom of speech and expression (Dina)
- Right to health/healthcare (Baur)
- Right to a fair trial (Ben)
- Freedom from terror (Me)
- Right to go about daily life in safety and security (Anne-Maire)
- Right to choice (Misha)
- Right to seek asylum (Aigera)
- Freedom of religion (Gulnara)
- Right to property (Baur)
- All men and women are equal (Ben)
- Freedom of association (Olga)
- Freedom of sexuality (Misha)
- Freedom to protest (Grace)
- Right to vote (Me)
- Right to a clean environment (Baur) – This is the only one that is really absent from the actual UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights). I guess that the environment was a major concern in 1948.
- The UDHR was the first time human rights had been included in international law
- It arose as a result of the second world war
- It was ratified in 1948 in
by 48 nations Paris
- It has 30 articles
- The day it was ratified (10th December) is national human rights day
- An alternative document supported by Islamic nations was designed in
- The UDHR holds the world record for the most translated document
- 70% of the British public can’t name any of their human rights
Article 1 - All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood
Article 3 - Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
Article 18 - Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
Article 20 - Freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
Article 23 - The right to work
The team then discussed their opinions on whether they believed the UDHR to be relevant or effective. We raised issues of enforcement, all countries have (probably) broken it and argued that the language should be simplified so that everyone can know and understand their rights. However the declaration does provide a positive basis for many more laws but as a western bias, as demonstrated by some Islamic nations desire to create their own declaration, and as is the case with all laws is open to interpretation. Next we role played some real life situations of human rights violations. I have a video of our group showing a situation in Luanda, Angola where people have been forcefully removed from their homes without compensation, and some children even killed in their homes by bulldozers, to make way for a luxury housing complex.
The GCD was followed by a reception at Pontos restaurant laid on by the British Council who had come to visit us. Not the whole council obviously, just the director, a former Kazakh/UK exchange programme supervisor and another employee. The food was delicious, stuffed aubergines and peppers, marinated meats and battered chicken, hot cheese pastries and fresh fruits to name a few. It was so good to taste flavor again. I stuffed myself silly before our team took over the microphone in the thankfully empty restaurant and engaged in a little karaoke minus the music.
Saturday 11th July
Meeting at 9am we boarded a bus presumably paid for by the British Council and embarked on a rather uneventful, excepting the photo opportunity that was a herd of camels, bus journey to Turkestan and the famous mausoleum of Ahmed Yasawi. Something I believe that all the
Endless desert like landscape (we even saw a few salt pans) and the side of our bus!
Mausoleum of Arystan Bab
Mausoleum of Ahmed Yasawi.
Sunday 12th July
Hung around the host home hand washing, writing my diary, reading and feeling bored until 5:30pm when I went into Shymkent to use the internet at it’s cheaper rate and treat myself to the comfort foods of crisps, cake, chocolate and coca cola from Ramstore. Back at home while cleaning our bedroom floor I discovered that Gulnara had the Global Citizenship extension cards in preparation for our GCD and started enthusiastically updating my learning journal. At 9pm I received a call from Anne-Marie asking if I was okay and if I was going to the Korean restaurant tonight, something I knew nothing about.