Peace Corps: Volunteer Service in Almaty


ALMATY, April 3


When you hear the word �volunteer�, without thinking you imagine a person who helps people disinterestedly.

The community knows little about the activities of the �Volunteer House�, a project under the auspices of the Soros-Kazakhstan foundation and the help it gives poor citizens. Activities, other than donations of food for homeless people at New Year�s Eve, which was promoted with a press-release, go unnoticed by the general public.

Having met Mary Carter by chance, I was not just impressed by her charm, but also by her almost masculine obstinacy. These two absolutely incompatible features were wonderfully combined in a delicate and beautiful woman. After having spent a whole day with her, I was surprised by her attitude toward life. At 10 a.m. we went to a kindergarten located in micro-district 10, where Mary takes 8 hours of classes with Afghan refugees three times a week.

When we entered the kindergarten, both children and adults came to her and greeted her laughing. It was obvious they were glad to see her and that they greatly respected and liked her.

All classes by Mary were successful that day. Moreover, she gathered the Afghan teachers together and taught them basic English grammar. When I asked Mary: �Are you a teacher?�, she replied: �No.�

�Then why are you doing this? You obtain nothing from this. Neither money, nor any career enhancement?� She smiled and said: �To do good for people is a pleasure.� Mary has nothing to do with the Peace Corps. Her husband works in Almaty and she wants to help everybody who suffered in the Afghan bloodshed.

I was so impressed by such unselfishness that I decided to find similar men in our city. I was lucky to meet Temothy Yohn Evight.

Temothy Evight is a pleasant young teacher of English in one of the Almaty schools.

Temothy graduated from the US University and came to Kazakhstan at once, something that he does not regret. However he does miss his motherland and US cuisine, when he remembers real hamburgers.

He accepted an invitation by the Peace Corps to help in the fledgling state of Kazakhstan. He does not receive a salary, but gets a small grant, which is hardly enough for transport and dinner, but financial gain is not his main motivation. The main thing is the spiritual principle of helping society.

In conversation together, Temothy constantly talked about John, his friend, who was also working on a volunteer basis in Almaty. He repeatedly underlined that �John was example for him.� I asked for John�s address.

John T. Rusczyk impressed me greatly.

John arrived in Almaty a year ago, to be more accurate � in August 1999. In Almaty he represents the Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development (a network located in over 40 countries of the world). John is a marketing advisor on financial services receiving no pay for the advice he dispenses nor the time he devotes to such complicated work. He said he had heard a lot about the culture and life in the USSR and had always wished to learn on a first hand basisabout life in the USSR. When he was offered work in Kazakhstan he agreed at once. Comparing the two states, the U.S.A. and Kazakhstan, John said that our republic resembles America, which gradually, step by step, has coped with all difficulties and economic

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