Dustin’s working with an organization called GABA. Here's a list of some of their recent / current projects – strengthening organic agriculture, organic farming certification, greenhouse construction, agriculture extension, wild collectors' program (certifying people that gather wild herbs and fruits – cherry plum, nettle, blackberry, and hawthorn – to export to Europe), constructing cold storage facilities and fodder mills, agricultural forestry, environmental education, and fighting desertification in rural / agricultural Azerbaijan. This is Dustin's list - I have no idea what most of these things mean, but they sound pretty awesome! :)
I'm working with AZETA (Azerbaijan English Teachers' Association). My role here is to strengthen the organization through teacher training (introducing student-centered, interactive methods, varied professional development, strategies to improve the level of spoken English among English educators, etc).
We live in a host home until April. Our host sisters – Gul (59) and Nabat (69) are pretty good cooks, are insistent upon having “grandchildren” in the next two years, are always animated in an effort to be understood, and stress that we are allowed to do what we want in the house because it is a “democratia”... they're great people. The "baby" conversations do wear on us a bit... me especially considering that they nearly rushed me to the emergency when they realized that D and I have been married for nearly six years and have not yet had any children. I managed to wriggle my way out of that one somehow...but not for long, I'm sure.
D's most interesting experience to date would have to be the xas (pronounced haash) outing with his boss at 7 AM one Saturday. Xas is a soup made by boiling down the head and / or hooves of a cow or sheep until only a marrowy, soupy substance is left...mmmmm. It is served with garlic, vinegar, wheat bread, and vodka. Yum. This is a gentlemen only type of affair, which is a-okay with me. I'm not a fan of throwing up in public, though I have been known to do so from time to time - and xas day would probably be one of those times. No thanks. My stomach's not so keen on Azeri food to begin with.
We visited Sheki for Christmas and stayed in Ganja for New Years, neither of which really felt like holidays. Now we're just plugging away, trying to get into a groove with work. "Night time" officially begins at about 6 PM, so we've been watching a lot of movies and television series...if you have any suggestions, pass them along. We'll need them this winter!
We miss you guys. We love you! Thanks for keeping up with us. Shoot us some e-mails - let us know what's going on with you! To all my kiddos in GA keeping up with us, thanks!! Do your homework! To all my soon-to-be baby momma friends out there, we love you and think about you and the little ones all the time!! We want the news ASAP...not the "man" version either - I need full names, weight, length, hair status, labor and delivery stories (not the gross ones) etc -- the lady-style update. To our family -- we love you more than Blue Bell ice cream...more than popcorn with Tabasco sauce...more than Sonic strawberry limeades. To our friends, we'll meet you for a drink in about 23ish months - get babysitters now. To my soon-to-be 11 year old nephews -- YOU ARE THE COOLEST PEOPLE ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET!! WAY COOLER THAN SUPERMAN...WAY COOLER THAN JUSTIN BEANER or BEAVER or WHATEVER HIS NAME IS...WAY COOLER THAN HARRY POTTER (and you know HP's my main man...). We love you so!
The House Across the Street
|Look Really Close...|
|My Construction Paper Christmas Tree|