Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Euan Davidson on his volunteer project in Kyrgyzstan

In the picture: Euan and other international volunteers cleaning the beach in Kyrgyzstan.

Going to Kyrgyzstan was one of the best things I’ve ever done. The flights were expensive and I nearly decided not to go for financial reasons but I’m so glad I did go. The scenery in the country is fantastic and there are loads of great places to visit. The local volunteer agency was very good and I think their projects will improve each year. They are very committed to improving things in this challenging country.

Kyrgyzstan has a lot of problems as an economy and tourism offers a great way of moving the country forward. Helping with some small tourism projects was great. The mixture of international and local volunteers was really good and we became a very close group. The work we did was really good but there could have been more work organized. The first few days we cleaned up some local beaches next to a beautiful mountain lake. We also cleaned up the local school yard and orchard which was good. The second week we helped translate tourist signs (correcting grammar etc.) and went on some really amazing trips. As said above, there could have been more work organized but the work we did was really good.

During the camp we had the weekends off so I got the chance to travel with a couple of the international volunteers. I also spent two weeks traveling with a couple of the European guys I met on the project once the volunteering was finished. The traveling was great, we did horse treks, saw beautiful glacial lakes, went to a few cities etc. I’ve traveled to a few different countries before but Kyrgyzstan is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. They also have a great community based tourism scheme where you can arrange home-stays, guides, trips etc very cheaply.

On the whole the experience was more than I ever hoped for. I got a chance to find out more about this fascinating country, get involved in some work and meet some amazing people. Traveling round Kyrgyzstan after the project was amazing as well and I would urge anyone who loves the great outdoors to go to there. I hope to work in economic development in the future and this trip only spurred me in my ambitions. It was also great to get away from work for a month and really immerse myself in a different country. Go there and see for yourself!

Click here for more information on Kyrgyzstan

Click here for pictures of projects in Kyrgyzstan