Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Little AZ

Happy End of July!! Congratulations to all of our friends expecting and bringing home little ones - we can't wait to meet them!
We've had an incredible month...exhausting, but incredible. Here are a few shots from the last month or so. Hope you enjoy them.

A "Ki├žik Toy" -- A Circumcision Party...Don't Ask
Top Left -- Momma Natavan and the uh...Lucky Boy
Top Right -- Kelly and Shahla
Bottom Left -- The Spread - They Don't Play Around
Bottom Right -- Kelly, Humay, and a Clown...Yep, There Are Clowns
After almost two years in Ganja, we're still discovering new things. The next three pictures are from a culture center hidden away in an old building on a side street near the government buildings. The mural is huge, but each image depicts a different traditional story. Pretty cool...

Mural Image, Culture Center -- Ganja, AZ

Mural Image, Culture Center -- Ganja, AZ

Mural Image, Culture Center -- Ganja, AZ
Summer tends to slow down in Ganja for a few reasons - one, most of our students are in university and many of them travel to their home regions during the summer time - and two, since the weather is usually crazy hot, many families leave the city and spend time in the mountains to get a little relief from the weather. So, that gave us a bit of time to do a little traveling of our own. We tried to take advantage of this lull and support a Peace Corps program at the same time. PCVs in AZ have set up a Community Based Tourism (CBT) program. It is an attempt to get tourists out into some of the most isolated but beautiful spots in the country. It's a great opportunity to have a truly authentic cultural experience. I've included a map to give it a little scope as well as pictures from most of our stops.

The Green Line = Our Summer Trip

Stop #1: Guba -- Our Friend, Joey, Leads Nightly Sing-Alongs in His Neighborhood in Guba, AZ

Stop # 2: Laza, AZ -- The View From Our Porch, Sheep and Waterfalls

Daisies in the Stream, Laza, AZ

Greater Caucasus Mountains, Laza, AZ

Hillside, Greater Caucasus Mountains, Laza, AZ

Laza Village, From the Hillside
KJ&D -- Greater Caucasus Mountains, Laza, AZ

Rock Formation, Laza, AZ

Stop #3: Sumgayit, AZ -- We stopped in Sumgayit to visit our host family from training. Lots of changes, but same incredible family.
Baby Muslim - Not So Baby Anymore - He's a Big Brother Now to Sister, Ferida

Dustin, Kama, and the Caspian Sea, Sumgayit

Monument in Sumgayit

Stop #4: Lerik, AZ -- Talysh Mountains

Dustin Getting Some Roadside Life Lessons From Our Hosts

Granite Formations - Talysh Mountains --  Lerik, AZ

Washing Hands at the Bulag (Spring) Before Heading Back to Town For the Night In The Old Lada -- Lerik, AZ