An Ivanovka Homecoming

by Nathan Hamm on 6/2/2005

Larry Tweed has an excellent entry about returning to Ivanovka, the town where he lived during training.

I spent the day catching-up with Mama and Yulia. We talked about wills and property and family values, marriage and children and buying houses. We talked about work and our health, politics and NGOs. We talked about the weather and grapes, wine and roses, cactuses and the dead and dying.

Definitely read the rest. While reading the post, I kept thinking, “Damn, I hope this guy writes a book.”

Also, it’s interesting that he called going to Ivanovka “home.”

Though I certainly like Navoi, where I did my service, I have similarly strong feelings for Second Department, the little collective farm where I lived during training (map). I never really had a good host family in Navoi and had lots of difficulties with my job. Like Larry, I went through an unemployed period, looking for both a new job and an apartment.

But in training, I had none of these concerns. I lived on a street full of friendly families, had big quiet grapefields to walk through, nice sunsets, an angel of a host mother (on the left of the photo–the host dad was great too, actually), and wonderful friends.

In a lot of ways, one’s Peace Corps training site is similar to one’s real hometown. It’s where you learn the ropes, make your first connections, and for many, go back for respite.


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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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