Thursday afternoon at the library, about an hour or so left before I leave to walk over to Franco Library and the first meeting of my adult English Club. I have a few trepidations about it—will anyone come, do I really want to be doing this (my idea, not theirs), will they be supportive enough—not try to shoo us all out before the library closes at 7pm. I have wanted to do another English Club for adults, but it is so hard to find a place that is open late enough. My biggest hope was to do a club in Ak Mechet using the mosque there, but it turns out the mosque isn’t heated and they only have the one large area where the prayers are conducted. And no chairs, of course. I could have gone back to meeting at the Krymchak Museum, but it is after hours there and is a hard place to find. Franco Library is centrally located and very well known in the city. So, we’ll see how it goes. More on the next blog post.
The great news this week is that my Partnership Project with the Peace Corps got fully funded! And this is even after raising the goal by another $1000. In just a month we raised a total of $4000 from approximately 38 individuals—mostly my friends and family—and one organization, a Crimean Tatar women’s organization in New York. I really didn’t think we would raise that much money that fast—I am so grateful that so many of my friends chose to support my project. So to any of you donors who are reading this blog, thanks so very much. Hopefully I have already sent you a thank you, but because the Peace Corps is slow in getting me all the names, there might be some of you I have missed. It means a lot to me that you have such faith in my work here.
The library staff was ecstatic when I told them the money would be coming In January and began to make plans for what microfilms they wanted to convert into digital format, and possibly even being able to acquire copies of Ismail Gasprinskiy newspaper Terdjiman that they don’t have, one of the long time goals of the library.
Though I would like to do more here, I have come to see my role primarily as a fund raiser. And though many of us community developers chafe on that expectation when we first arrive at our sites, ultimately it makes sense that that is mostly what we would be doing, unless we happen to arrive with a fluency in Russian or Ukrainian. The most successful of us community developers—at least in my eyes—have passed that skill on to the partners in their organization, but I don’t see that happening here just yet. No one has the English necessary to be able to write grants and proposals, the great majority of which are required to be in English.
That’s it for now. The various holidays are coming up, so I am sure that will provide some tales. For one thing, I know I am going to the circus(!) on Christmas Day, which is a nonevent here. Christmas exists in the Orthodox Christian church but it is January 7th and not as heavily celebrated as it is in America. The real holiday is New Year’s, and there have already been much discussions at our house around what foods to make, whether or not to get a new tree (I found out the one they have been using all these years they brought from Uzbekistan twenty years ago), will we go to the grandparents—Lilye and Ablumet’s house—which I so hope we do, as I miss them!
Much love from Crimea.