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  • A New World in Tajikistan ~ A Journey to a New World

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

    A New World in Tajikistan

                A new world depicts a  desire or passion to conquer out of your comfort zone, it could be a desire to seek happiness from the unknown. The passion to a new experience. At times, looking at nowhere for some reason.
               Have you heard about the a life of volunteerism? We had seen or hearsay of this for so many times, perhaps we just ignore the facts for dealing with our busy life. A diversity of the changes in our own world were so tough to deal with. But then, we managed to take control of the situation.
              As I mentioned earlier, volunteers in developing countries had been visible through media campaign, journals, articles, newspapers, talk shows or even words by mouth from other people. I felt so overwhelming in the reality of life in that kind of passion to lend your hand to those people who looks for miracle.
             My new world started when I was involved in VSO Bahaginan. It is an international development organization, bringing skilled professionals to developing countries, such as Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and among others.
             My life was in fast phase, after the standard selection process, undergone essential training and then, I was considered as an outgoing volunteer.
             After a few months of waiting, I was offered a placement in Tajikistan last June of 2010. The initial reaction was having a second thought not to accept it. Prior to that offer, I was having a short term contract in an international NGO based in the Philippines, considering to extend my service to them. Another, I don't have any idea about the country. It was my first time to hear about the place, a territory that was known for its existence. Therefore, I asked a few days to sleep on it. Then, I requested the placement profile and took the initiative to consult the search engine of google for further information. Along the series of reading the history, the cultures and the traditions of Tajikistan. I felt the excitement and the passion to render the services they needed. After nourishing my concerns and issues as plotted in my own decision tree. The decision was finally laid down, then I accepted the placement program. I felt in seventh heaven that moment, then mixed emotions lingered. Moreover, I was so overwhelm that I'll be the first Southeast Asian volunteer from VSO Bahaginan to be placed in Tajikistan, followed by an Indonesian co-volunteer.
             Eventually, I was given a duration of one month to accomplish the final requirements: acquiring the last booster of vaccination, collecting the essential travel documents, the packing and unpacking of my luggage. Prior to my pre-departure, I had this hanging question, "Am I really ready for this journey?"
             In 29th of August 2010, the schedule date for my deployment and saying "good bye" to my family and close friends were a tough scene for me.
             The travel to my destination was so enjoyable, the never ending journey started in a connecting flight  through Qatar Airways departed at 6:35 AM in Ninoy Aquino International (MLA) and arrived 11:00 AM in Doha International Airport (DOH), waited for almost 2 hours 15 minutes going to Ataturk Airport (IST) Istanbul arrived at 6:30 PM. Finally, Turkish Airlines' flight time around 7:30 PM to Dushanbe Airport (DYU) Tajikistan landed at 8:35 AM. I don't feel exhausted, but it was a long flight travel for almost 24 hours. Taking standard practice of filling up the immigration card for foreigners, paying the visa fee around USD 50. The next thing, I set foot to the land of my new world, I am a bit jumpy and thinking, what will be the next after passing through Dushanbe Airport exit. I felt surprised as I walked out with my bulky luggage through the exit lane, there is only  a few people are waiting outside, as compared to my country. I was looking around and found easily a board sign with my name on it, I smiled. Then, a new life to face a new world in the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe.

               The place where artists showcase their talents to move the body and soul, 
    while watching the stage play prepared for the viewers.

    The street where I used to walk with my friends.

          A place where I used to read novels.

    The famous Somoni statue in Dushanbe.

    Shawarma Restaurant

    New - York Fried Chicken (NYFC)

    Tajikistan President Palace

    Bofi Ustod Rudaki Park

    Dushanbe Library

              After a week of staying in Dushanbe for In-Country Training and learn the Tajik language. I am scheduled to push through in my own placement and meet the other partner organization. I was really so excited to see the new world, not even my colleagues or friends had been to.
              The final destination was in Kurgan Teppa, Tajikistan.  Three months of migrating there was a learning process, then I got adjusted  with the culture, people, the food, and among other new things.

     The park that I used to see the beauty of Kurgan Teppa.

    The park that I used to sight the flow of the river, 
    while having a call to my friends and family on the bridge.

    The place where I used to enjoy the wind blows during summer season.

    The street where I used to walk going to my work place.

    A park where I used to walk with local friends during my leisure time.

    Kurgan Teppa Park

             Tajikistan is where I found a new world, a place  where the journey that never ends. A place where I found new friends, a peaceful place to explore. I had stayed there for a year, but it seems the feelings are forever. The glimpse of these images are so worth to ponder. After the long journey, I brought home the memories of my new world, along the genuine friendship that I've been shared with. It was like a "de javu". In 14th of August 2011, I departed from Dushanbe Airport on board to EK Emirates flight bounded to Dubai, then transferred to Philippine Airlines bounded to Manila.

             Surely, most of returned volunteers will expressed the same sentiments and affections from their own respective placements. It is like a celebration to share the excitements and treasured experiences for the sake of volunteerism.



    Looks like an exotic country, at least, for me. I think I have to focus to volunteer-ing next year. And I want Africa!


    Your blog entries about your exposure to the rich culture of this country are enough to let someone feel that they were with you during those times.

    Nice read, Steve.

    Nice to see you had a good experience in Tajikistan, unfortunately VSO is closing its programmes here now, many reasons given but comes down to one thing 'money'

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