Danko Photo Club Update

Final group shot

I previously wrote about my new Photo Club I’ve started at Danko and I wanted to talk a little bit more about how it’s been going.  We’ve held 7 classes so far and just did our first field trip.  Attempting to teach a technical topic in a foreign language is incredibly challenging to say the least but my students are patient and some know enough English to help me translate.  The biggest challenge at my last attempt at a photo club was attendance and it’s still a bit of a challenge but I’m averaging 9 students or so out of 12 at each class, having cameras and computers to play with definitely keeps their attention. I’ve been teaching basic concepts like the ‘Rule of 1/3s’ and ‘Leading Lines’ but mostly we walk around Balykchy taking photos while I give them pointers along the way.

Are first field trip (of 4 total) was last Saturday to Bishkek.  The capital city is only 2 hours away yet the students rarely get to visit.  Most go once a year or so and two of my students had never been.  They really enjoyed walking around the city and I was able to show them many things they had no idea existed in their country.  It was also really hot so of course they ate ice cream, lots of it.  Below are some photos from the field trip.  Scroll down for photos from my students.

Here is a gallery of photos by various students.  I’ll leave their names off for now but I’ll share a gallery of their credited work this fall when we prepare for an exhibition.

Home Sweet Balykchy Home

Our front door and attached Lincoln Center, an English school
Our front door and attached Lincoln Center, an English school

Some people have asked where we live, what our permanent site actually looks like.  Before I get into that, let me introduce you to a term… ‘Posh Corps.’  Dirt floors, laundry by hand and having to go fetch water from the river to drink are things people think of as the norm for us volunteers. People often think this term is a derogatory term used by people who want the ‘real’ PC experience where you are roughing it towards those volunteers who have some modern conveniences.  As it turns out, our permanent site fits none of those stereotypical images and I’ve since come to realize that ‘Posh Corps’ is a phrase born out of jealousy.  I’ve done laundry by hand here… it sucks.  So here it is, a tour of our fairly posh, Peace Corps home.

The courtyard.  Our the main house on the left.
The courtyard. Our the main house on the left.

As previously mentioned, our home is in Balykchy, a city on the Western edge of Issyk Kul, a huge alpine lake.  Our home is closed by a large fence on all sides like most in Kyrgyzstan, especially common in cities.  Inside the gates there are some differences between most of the homes I’ve been in and ours.  Our property is mostly finished with clean concrete walkways separating grassy areas with fruit-bearing trees (cherry, apple, pear and apricots,) generally homes are surrounded mostly by dirt.  It’s a pretty large plot for a city with a driveway on either side.  The main house is 3 or 4 bedrooms, depending on how you define them, and several living areas. There is a separate apartment attached that goes unused now but a previous volunteer lived there.

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