Allison's Turkmenistan Peace Corps Page

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By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 5:29 pm: Edit Post

Allison's Turkmenistan Peace Corps Page

Allison's Turkmenistan Peace Corps Page

Allison's Turkmenistan Peace Corps Page

Allison's Peace Corps Page

Photos and updates of my journey here, check in everyonce and again to see how the adventure went. I promise to work on the site alot over the next month.

My suggested packing list for T-10 volunteers

Many people have asked me why I wanted to do Peace Corps, so I thought I would set up this page to answer those questions, provide information on what I did and where.

Why: For some time now I have wanted to help people. I first realized this when I decided to switch majors from Engineering to Nursing. It felt good working in the hospital, helping patients and their families work through very tough times in their lives. Most people I encountered everyday at work were having major heart surgery, their lives are going to be forever changed by their hospital stay, but for me - it is just another day at work. I am one of many nurses just trying to do my job and get some small satisfaction out of helping them recover. And while this is great, I want to make more of an impact - both on others and myself. With this in mind I applied to the Peace Corps to do nursing overseas.

About Peace Corps: Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by President Kennedy to help promote world peace and help people of developing countries meet their basic needs. Over 153,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps since 1961 in over 134 countries. To learn more, check out the official Peace Corps site.

What did I do there?

Training: First I lived in the country, along with the business and english teacher volunteers. The 11 week training period includes four sections 1) technical training in the methods and techniques of health care used, 2) Cross-cultural training to learn important aspects of the culture, 3) Language training, and 4) Health and safety training.

Job description: My overall job description was to improve and modernize training of the local nurses and midwifes in clinical nursing practice. The focus was on Maternal and Child health with placement in either a hospital, birthing house or health clinic. I worked in a village health clinic. The average assignment is to work in a small health center serving a community ranging from 2000-8000 people. These centers usually consist of 4-12 rooms, two nurses or midwifes and two doctors. Each nurse has their own assigned area within covering up to 1500 people. The most common concerns are respiratory infections, pregnancy conditions, nutrition, anemia and breastfeeding.

Secondary project: I was also involved with several secondary projects, such as women in development projects, youth summer camp programs, English clubs, teaching computers, etc. There are also volunteers from UNICEF, United Nations, Red Cross/Creasant, Doctors without Borders and the World Health Organization in the country with which I met with through my secondary project.

Where was I? Turkmenistan (Former Soviet Union) Where the heck is Turkmenistan? up close map | Asia map

Background info: Turkmenistan became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. It is bordered on the north by Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, east by the Amudarya river, south by Iran and Afghanistan, and west by the Caspian Sea. It is about the size of California, however 80% is the Kara-Kum Desert (meaning Black sand desert). The official language is Turkmen, however Russian is still commonly used throughout, as well as Uzbek. Living/Working conditions: While living in Turkmenistan I stayed with a host family, I had my own room and shared the kitchen and bathing areas with my family. Most volunteers moved out into apatments after the manitory one month host family asisgnment. I however stayed with my family the whole time. They provided the best experience for me. I loved my host family very much and hope to stay in contact with them. Normal housing is a one story house or apartment. Electricity and running water is not standard in all areas. The host family may or may not have a telephone.

Food: The most common foods are bread, rice, and meats. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables are available (while in season). Hot tea, mineral water, locally produced alcohol are common beverages. Food was my least favorite part of Turkmenistan. The food is salty and oily. They tend to have about 5 main meals which rotate around depending on season. I am glad I brought some food with me.

Weather: Turkmenistan is a dry, desert country, but most cities are quite green during the spring and summer. The winter can be snowy with bitter winds (-20F) and summer temperatures can reach a "dry 120F" on the desert. Spring and fall is rainy and pleasant.

Safety: The safety situation doesn't seem much different from anywhere else in the world. Just use common sense and good judgement at night. Men in Turkmenistan can get a little to friendly, a wedding band tended to help.

Keeping in Touch: The only guaranteed way to communicate is through the postal system. A letter may take from 2 - 6 weeks to arrive from the US. Most city houses have phones, but villages tend not to. Internet is becoming more available. Mary and Ahal regions have reliable internet places, the other 3 regions still have nothing. Although Lebap is trying to start something.

Links to information on Turkmenistan:

Guide to Turkmenistan

The Turkmenistan Embassy

The Turkmenistan Peace Corps Site

The Washington Post news on Turkmenistan

Eurasianet -- The best source for current news

Turkmenistan Information Center

Lonely Planet Guide Basic tourist information

Peace Corps Volunteer Site Greg's Peace Corps experience from 1994-1996. The Best Personal Site.

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Story Source: Personal Web Page

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



By Karissa Rector ( - on Thursday, March 25, 2004 - 4:15 pm: Edit Post

Allison. Hi - hope you are well. I am doing a 7th grade social studies project on Turkmenistan and your information has been EXTREMELY helpful to me. I need to make a drink common to the country and I'm choosing hot tea since yours is the only site I could find this information. If you have any other comments for me within the next few hours (in case you check in) please let me know. Good luck - stay safe! I have an Aunt in Spain and I can appreciate your journeys.
Karissa Rector, Oconomowoc, WIS. USA

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