Sunday, March 30, 2008
My time in Tajikistan was a great experience. I met many wonderful people and had a lot of good times. I also met some not so nice people (mainly Tajik men thinking I was a Russian prostitute because of my fair complexion and no other reason…) and had some challenging times as well (such as the coldest winter in 40 years coupled with an energy crisis).
Working at MEDA was also a wonderful time, I was very happy to have the opportunity to apply my food science knowledge to help fruit and vegetable processors over here. I also visited many projects in the field, and had the chance to see much of northern Tajikistan and the meet people from several different regions. I will miss the beautiful drives through the mountains and meeting very friendly, hospitable clients.
All in all I have learned a lot about living and working overseas, mixing into a different culture and the most difficult part was learning not to compare the new culture with the values I had as a Canadian. I tried not to make judgments, and understand why some traditions are acceptable when back home they would not be. It was challenging, but in the end when my best friend here said “Kelly, you really understand our culture, most foreigners don’t” it really made me happy.
Well, I think it’s too soon to know how this experience will really affect me, but I know for sure it has changed me. I am looking forward to spending time in Nepal so I can reflect on my experience here, and digest it a little before going back to Canada. I know it will be overwhelming when I get back, being exposed to everyone and everything that I have gone so long without now. But I know I will adjust again, and hopefully before I know it I will be on another adventure shortly!
Thank you for reading and following my experiences. I don’t know if I will post at all when I am in Nepal, but surely I will when I arrive back in Canada in May.
Goodbye for now!