This blog will read a bit like the previous one, but I had some difficulty getting one to send and ended up writing two, so decided to send both.
Hello everyone, hope you are all well. Very big thanks to everyone who has added comments to the blog, I check it all the time and am very excited when I have a new message, so do feel confident that I am reading them, they are an important part of the survival tactics.
I gather that summer has yet to arrive in England, in contrast to the relentless heat here in Duchanbe. I am told it got to 52 a couple of weeks ago, but for me it feels like that every day. We also had an earthquake of 6.2 on the Richter scale in the north of the country - but it was in the middle of the night and I slept right through it (not like her I hear you say!) It was followed by another closer to here of 4.5. Quite a lot of people were woken by it and told me it was very frightening, they are a regular occurance here in Tajikistan - but regrettably I missed it.
At this stage in the placement things have settled into the job and there has been less sociall activity in the last couple of weeks. But I did spend a day in Romit with the whole social work team, to deliver a 2 hour training session on engaging families and how to communicate with people with communication or learning difficulties. We also played games - Sharks (remember that one Annie!) in the open air and my Tajik staff are just as ruthless and competitive as any other group I have worked with. all the more amazing is that the whole session was completed via the translator, Rahim deserves a medal, but he was well prepared and knew what I was trying to do. After a fantastic lunch I was able to go in the swimming pool that is fed by the mountain river, very cold so I did not stay in for very long. On the way home we stopped on the side of the road so that Nazira could buy blackberries to make jam, everything is about two months ahead but comes to a complete stop in the winter, hence the drying, preserving, pickling of as much as possible.
I have also had a few low days, when I really miss home and miss being able to speak to people easily, it is so frustrating. My project manager, Nazira is determined to get me speaking Tajik and has told me that she will teach me when she is back from leave next week - so lets hope I can produce more than just the one sentence I can currently say, plus a few words....
I have had another bout of stomach attack, but it seems to have gone this time without antibiotics. Which is just as well as I am going to see some friends in Panjakent this Thursday - Sunday (see top left on the map). It takes about 5/6 hours each way by road, but I am looking forward to a change of scenery, clean air in the mountains and some company. The two people who share the house with me are both away, Mary is in England until the 3 August and Lynne is in Singapore until the 10th. it is quite nice having the house to myself for a few days, but also a good time to visit others.
I can't wait for Ian to arrive on the 3 September, only 6 weeks now. I hope he will find it interesting to visit and see, but mostly looking forward to just having him here. I may also be splitting my placement and coming home for three months at the end of November - more on that later.
In the mean time have a look at the pictures of the training in the mountain resort of Romit, some pictures of Duchanbe and the house and some people that I spend my time with, who have all been wonderful.
Keep in touch and love to you all.