Monday 3rd August
Rain ruined any chance for the walk into the mountains we had planned to replace the horse riding so we visited the museum before heading back to Shymkent in the same subdued mood of the day before. Back at Nassima’s Gulnara received a phone call from her mother before calling Malika and then announcing that she was going to Almaty with her mother for a few days due to some problem with her brother that she wouldn’t tell me about. Obviously I would never have objected to her going but I was rather annoyed. It feels like there was one rule in the
Random combination of black silk sheets and dolphin duvet cover at our MPR venue
Tuesday 4th August
Our supervisor was away today and had failed to leave the key for her office which had our materials locked inside so Nina and I had to improvise. We managed to entertain the few children we had today, apparently there aren’t that many children in the hospital currently, with balloons and a blanket. It’s Gulnara’s birthday tomorrow so I text her to ask if she was okay and whether she would be back for birthday but she hasn’t replied yet.
Wednesday 5th August
The office was still locked so Nina and I utilised a blanket and made a house and a rather more popular car using the child sized tables and chairs from the room we play in. Passing doctors did look rather bemused to see us sitting atop a table covered with a blanket throwing ourselves wildly from side to side, as is the driving experience in
Thursday 6th August
Our supervisor returned today with the key to her office so we played with plasticine. After lunch I was cornered by Rosa the cleaner who always surprises me as the person who seemingly knows the most English among the doctors, nurses and administrators in the hospital, though she only knows a few words. Started pointing at my necklace asking how much it was and then pointing at my fingers before disappearing and returning moments later with a small number of horrible plastic rings in her pocket which she offered to sell to me for 150 tenge each. I felt kind of obliged and so bought the least hideous of the lot.
Friday 7th August
Kate and Dina’s GCD on disability. This time there were two definitions; one for each country. In the
1951 – UN holds talks on the social rehabilitation of disabled people
1953 – UN introduces program for the development of services for disabled people
1981 – International year of disabled people
1995 – Disability Discrimination Act passed in the
2006 – Disability Equality Duty introduced in the
2007 – 82 countries sign the UN convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Then we had a quiz!
Q: What percentage of the worlds population live with a disability?
A: 10% (650 million)
Q: Who has a higher rate of disability?
Q: What percentage of all disabled people live in developing countries?
Q: What percentage of the worlds poorest people have some kind of disability?
Q: What percentage of the population of
Q: In 2003/4 what percentage of people in the
A: 18% (10 million people)
Next we watched a film called talk from the Disability Rights Commission. A very thought provoking video, you can view it here.
Finally we watched a video about a centre for disabled children in Almaty. Olga was in the video as she worked there as a translator for a time. There are 160 000 children registered as disabled in
The GCD was followed by a leaving party for Vicente, peace corp. volunteer and volunteer placement supervisor to Anne-Marie and Misha. He made the mistake of telling the peace corp. he had no work and so they decided to send him home early. I had only met him once, during our community orientation, but it seemed like a good opportunity to meet some more volunteers. After drinks and food at Caravan in Ken Baba we proceeded to a ‘dive bar’, perhaps the only one in Shymkent, losing many of the group along the way. There Joe and Vicente downed pints and smoked the girls’ slim cigarettes; a very amusing sight. From here we walked to a karaoke bar come nightclub near Ordabassy where I declined Dinara’s earlier offer to stay at her host home opting for Sarah’s instead as both Beth and Dinara were looking tired and wanting to go home where as I wanted to stay longer. After a vodka shot and much dancing in the stifling nightclub on my part I left with Sarah around midnight. A very nice Kazakh named Alex who apparently Vicente barely knew got us a taxi, taking down the licence plate, then Sarah gestured wildly while I tore through the phrasebook looking for the words for left and right. Miraculously we got back to Sarah’s very easily.
Gulnara receiving her birthday present and card at the GCD
Saturday 8th August
Dinara, Beth, Anne-Marie, Nina, Sarah, Grace, Ben and I met today at the aqua park along with a number of peace corp. volunteers, whose of whom live in villages without running water savouring the feeling of being clean. Britney had invited us along on Thursday but we had originally planned to have a CAD for the opening of a new building at Beth and Olga’s placement. I was extremely grateful that it was cancelled. It was a good day, like a mini holiday. I got to swim and work on my tan.
Beth and Nina having fun at the aqua park
Sunday 9th August
Another CAD with Beth and Olga’s placement. Not the one that we had planned for Saturday. It was another summer camp. Though apart from an over weight middle aged woman shouting incomprehensively at us because the English club was taking place in the wrong place (every camp seems to have an angry overweight middle aged woman) it was altogether better organised. We arrived, set up the stage, watched the introduction, sat around for a little while, were suddenly ordered to play games with a group, where we had to roll out all the energisers we could remember again, then did our anti-smoking bit. This time I was on the ‘facts’ station where on child had to put a spoon in their mouth and read aloud two ‘facts’ (something like ‘we are for a healthy lifestyle’ and ‘smoking damages the body’) while their peers have to guess what they are saying. It was amusing to watch and quickly over. We then had lunch and went home where I spent the rest of the day sleeping and catching up with my diary writing. I had been putting off cataloguing the MPR!
Child trying to read with a spoon in their mouth
Kassym made a new friend at the camp