Kenny, Anna and their teacher Mr. Shields

Kenny, Anna and their teacher Mr. Shields

Turkmen Adventure’s Blog: Kenny and Anna are two high school students at Hatboro-Horsham High School in Horsham PA traveling with one of their teachers, Mr. Shields to Turkmenistan for two weeks to teach and learn as part of a cultural exchange with IREX and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Culurual Affairs.

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Day 12 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan: Tuesday Night:

Hey Everyone! To add on to our exciting day yesterday, we visited our new friend, Aman‘s house. It was so interesting visiting a traditional Turkmen home! Aman lives with his wife, Maral, daughter, Anna, and his parents. … In Turkmenistan it is expected that one of the sons lives with the parents. You will often find a big pile of shoes near the door of a Turkmen home. As soon as you enter the home you are supposed to take off your shoes an put on slippers. Women believe that if you walk barefoot you will be infertile! Our American friend living here, Danielle was also there. Once she started to walk outside without shoes on and Aman’s five-year-old daughter, Anna brought them to her right away. The house doesn’t have many chairs and couches, because they often sit on the floor on their beautiful and infamous Turkmen carpets. (Which they have many of)

The meal was AMAZING! Aman’s wife, Maral made so much food! First we had small cuts of meat and cheese, olives, cheese wrapped in eggplant, and amazing bread. Then we had duck and plov (rice pilaf) with small pieces of Sturgeon in it. And finally we had larger pieces of Sturgeon, which were DELICIOUS! But of course I had NO room left for it. In Turkmenistan, it’s hard to go to a meal and plan on only eating a little. Turkmens ask you if you are hungry at least ten times, and then just make you a plate themselves.

In Turkmenistan, people often shave children’s heads until they are five or six years old. They say that if you shave the head when they are young, then their hair will grow back thicker and more beautiful.

Wednesday:

We went to the Russian market again for breakfast, which is my favorite thing to do! Then we took a cab to the IREX office. The cars here are very small. We haven’t seen many SUVs. Most of the cars are Russian and there are also BMWs and various other small cars. People here are crazy drivers. Streets will sometimes have lines separating the lanes, but the drivers never follow the lines. Also most of the cars don’t have air conditioning, which I am sure you can imagine is not so comfortable in this weather! All the cars are always sliding all over the place. The roads are very slippery and the tires have very little tread.

Another day in the office early in the morning, but we are always greeted by welcoming staff and students with smiles on their faces. The students here are always so eager to learn! In the morning we taught students how to make a virtual house on powerpoint. Another group came to work in imovie, making their own documentaries about the differences between America and Turkmenistan. Then we took our well-needed lunch break at The Coffee House (A common lunch destination). After that, we worked with another group of students making documentaries, this time about Turkmen heroes and athletes. Finally we taught our last lesson of photoshop.

The students we teach are broken up into groups. At the end of each group’s rotation, they take a survey for IREX to see how they are enjoying the class. We have not received a bad review yet! It always makes me feel great when the students thank us profusely every day!
For dinner, we went to a place called five legs. It is a pyramid-shaped building with water flowing down the sides. It has one of the best views of the city. We ate outside, on the balcony, at the top. It was gorgeous outside. All the buildings have lights that change color and make the marble walls glow at night. We had a great view of the Iranian mountains and Turkmenistan’s pride and joy, the world’s BIGGEST flag! Turkmenistan is also home to the world’s biggest carpet. Amazingly, the flag weighs more than the carpet. (As you can imagine, it is a BIG flag!) I hope you are enjoying our posts! Cannot wait to see all of you back in the US!
Web Resource: Turkmen Adventure Blogspot Com