December 26, 2001 - Pomona College: Dan Stanley's Year in Turkmenistan Broadens His Horizons

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Turkmenistan: Peace Corps Turkmenistan : The Peace Corps in Turkmenistan: December 26, 2001 - Pomona College: Dan Stanley's Year in Turkmenistan Broadens His Horizons

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Dan Stanley's Year in Turkmenistan Broadens His Horizons

Dan Stanley's Year in Turkmenistan Broadens His Horizons

"Peace Offerings: Volunteers Year in Turkmenistan Broadens His Horizons"

[Dan] Stanley had applied for the Peace Corps in the spring of 2000, just before graduating from Pomona College... After his application was accepted, he was sent to work in the rural village of Geokdepe. There, he could use his economics degree to help a farmer's cooperative develop a profitable business plan.

Since Turkmenistan is one of the few places in the world that attracts no tourists, the only Americans most locals have ever met are Peace Corps volunteers, Stanley says. About 55 arrive each year for two-year stints.

As a whole, Stanley said, there is little anti-American sentiment in Turkmenistan. Most resident are courteous, and also curious. 'Some men have views of America that came from their Soviet childhood,' Stanley says. 'It's a big surprise for them to find out that we are so advanced.' They are equally surprised, he says, to learn how little Americans know of Turkmenistan. Even if we wanted to learn the Turkmen language, Stanley explained, we would be unlikely to find a school that teaches it.

Turkmens' other visions of America, Stanley said, come from Hollywood movies, those featuring Arnold Schwarzenneger and Jean Claude van Damme, and also the entire 'Home Alone' series. The soap opera 'Santa Barbara' had recently finished airing in the country. The movies, says Stanley, led Turkmen people to imagine Americans as very rich, and very violent. 'If Peace Corps didn't go there, then I'd be scared to think what they'd think of us.'

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Story Source: Pomona College

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Turkmenistan



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