Saturday, November 18, 2006

Snow and condoms

There is enough snow to make it look like a Christmas postcard at the moment and the difference the snow makes is unbelievable. This industrial outpost suddenly turns quite magical when covered in a layer of white and the best improvement is that the mud, which has been caking everyone including me, is now frozen and things are for the first time since I arrived clean….

Finding it even more difficult to drag myself out of bed in the mornings at the moment – there is ice on the inside of my windows so I think it is to be expected. Afternoons are proving very productive and this week I have written a training session on HIV and AIDS to be given first to social health workers in each of the school and then to the volunteers. I am quite pleased with my efforts – it was quite a daunting task and not really my speciality when I suggested the idea but then I reasoned I am here to learn how to do new things so I have given it my best shot.

Was invited to watch a mix between Pop Idol and bad karaoke yesterday and the day before – Zhitikara Star. Quite fun to watch but musical talent is decidedly lacking and I slipped out after an hour or so each day. I am so surprised people are so keen to get up on to stage and sing – there were 87 entrants and only 25 made it through to this round.

I found out that the Waltz I have been learning is not the ‘Jeanski (womans) Waltz’ but the ‘Vientski (Vienna) Waltz’ so I have been thinking I am learning the womans waltz for the past two months when in fact it is the Vienna Wlatz. To the untrained ear the words might as well be the same! But good to clear that one up – the same as the chacha and salsa.

Trying to find free condoms at the moment for AIDS day which is proving more difficult than I imagined. Most people I ask just start blushing and laughing when I ask them where you can buy condoms (not quite as much as when I was trying to get vaginal fluids translated for the HIV and AIDS quiz I produced – that stopped work in my office for about 30 minutes before people got over me saying vaginal fluids in a bad Russian accent) but I guessed the chemist would be a good place to start. And in true form the chemist I went to decided to get her whole stock out and tell me the merits of each. She agreed to donate 15 to me which is a start so I am going to head to all the chemists and see if they will support the AIDS day celebrations. All quite fun but I get the impression people think I am slightly mad.


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