Meanwhile over at we learn that both the U.S. Peace Corps program and USAID is pulling out of Kazakstan for a number of complicated and intertertwined reasons. There’s a noxious brew of assaults on volunteers, growing terrorist threats, general uncooperativeness from government ministers and even some volunteers accused of being spies.

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in 1996-1997. I felt I was helping in one way or another, but the main objectives of Peace Corps are to forment understanding between countries and cultures. Anyway, it’s unfortunate that the programs have to end but if it’s become unsafe for volunteers there then that’s what has to be done.

The photo below was taken by a fellow Peace Corps volunteer during my service in Kazakstan at a friend’s flat in Almaty, then the capitol of Kazakstan. I think I was excited to have found a can of pork and beans at a kiosk or the bazaar, and was going crazy happily cookin’ up some dogs on the skillet. I think I look kind of hot in that thermal pull-over:
I found pork and beans!
I was probably 25 when that photo was taken. I worked with a nonprofit organization who worked out of a university in central Kazakstan, who advocated health care issues for people living on or near their former nuclear test site. Sort of like Nevada. I also did some environmental education and taught lots of English to my coworkers and to university students working on their conversational English. I learned English is really bizarre with a lot of exceptions in the structure.


  1. Partick says:

    Nice Domino’s trucker hat. Ashton K totally bit your style.

  2. Mel says:

    Totally hot. I’d have been all over that.

    English really is an oddball language, but it’s basically a mish-mash of multiple Germanic languages with heavy Latin and Celtic influences. At least grammatical gender has been largely eliminated and verb conjugations kind of simplified.

  3. Russ says:

    I would totally make out with that man, completely cute. :-) Still are, mind you.

  4. mike/ says:

    not just in Kazakstan; came back from Honduras early this morning from quick weekend; they are not replacing the Peace Corps person where we work with schools through a charity i’m treasurer of; lucky for us, we got him to become our director of operations for the next year because we are building a preschool & tutoring center, finishing a continuing education program for kids who are needy and want to go beyond 6th grade, and trying to start up a voc/tech center; there had been a Peace Corps presence for years; they too are citing all the reasons you do for pulling out; there were three new volunteers raped the first week they were in Honduras…

  5. Jeffrey C says:

    Very “come do me in the back of my pickup” look. Hawt.

  6. » Blog Archive » Don’t Panic says:

    […] it’s National Peace Corps Week and I posted an old pic of me on Facebook from when I served in Kazakstan. Seeing my fellow volunteers’ posts this week […]