aDudeManDudeProduction

As a Peace Corps volunteer destined for Azerbaijan, I will use this blog to record my journeys. A sailor of the world, bound for all ports.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Update From Azerbaijan

Hello all,

I am now living in Jalilabad, in the deep south of Azerbaijan. I am working in the Jalilabad office of ABAD (Azerbaijan Business Assistance and Development), an IRC and USAID joint project. We have 8 offices around the country including our home office in Baku. We serve the community by assisting producers, mostly farmers, and processors. We help farmers find markets for their crops and help processors find markets for their goods, usually processed foods such as tomato paste or pickles. My responsibility consists mainly of locating foreign markets for the sale of goods, researching alternative products and new production methods, and compilation of data for local markets.

Soon our office is due to have high speed internet, but at this time I am unable to upload photos. When we do upgrade I should be able to post frequently and provide some images of my city and office.

Update From Azerbaijan

Hello all,

I am now living in Jalilabad, in the deep south of Azerbaijan. I am working in the Jalilabad office of ABAD (Azerbaijan Business Assistance and Development), and IRC and USAID joint project. We have 8 offices around the country including our home office in Baku. We serve the community by assisting producers, mostly farmers, and processors. We help farmers find markets for their crops and help processors find markets for their goods, usually processed foods such as tomato paste or pickles. My responsibility consists mainly of locating foreign markets for the sale of goods, researching alternative products and new production methods, and compilation of data for local markets.

Soon our office is due to have high speed internet, but at this time I am unable to upload photos. When we do upgrade I should be able to post frequently and provide some images of my city and office.

Update From Azerbaijan

Hello all,

I am now living in Jalilabad, in the deep south of Azerbaijan. I am working in the Jalilabad office of ABAD (Azerbaijan Business Assistance and Development), and IRC and USAID joint project. We have 8 offices around the country including our home office in Baku. We serve the community by assisting producers, mostly farmers, and processors. We help farmers find markets for their crops and help processors find markets for their goods, usually processed foods such as tomato paste or pickles. My responsibilty consists mainly of locating foreign markets for the sale of goods, researching alternative products and new production methods, and compliation of data for local markets.

Soon our office is due to have high speed internet, but at this time I am unable to upload photos. When we do upgrade I should be able to post frequently and provide some images of my city and office.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fellow volunteers, Tom on left, Brian on right

me with my host grandmother

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Luggage

This is the luggage I am taking with me. It weighs about 80 pounds and includes everything I could possible think to take.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Wow!! People are commenting

I was happy to see people have commented on some of my entries. I am sorry that I did not see them earlier, I wasn't expecting anyone to interface with the site, but it is great to see the posts.

As requested by Mr. Hunter I will elaborate slightly on my assignment. I do not know exactly what my mission will be, the director the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan reviews my resume and assigns me according to the positions that need to be filled. I can say it will be in economic and community development. Most likely, I will work with a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) that uses their funding to develop small business expansion. Specifically, farmers and local business people will come to us to secure small loans to expand their business, probably in the form of a livestock purchase or maybe updating equipment. My guess would be I will work mostly with women, as most economic development in these countries encourage women to start their own businesses, since they are more likely than men to use the extra income on their families.

I wont know for sure till I am there, but because of the oil wealth of Azerbaijan, there are a number of NGO's in the region and lots of westerners, so there are probably a lot of great opportunities to work in Microenterprise development. This is important to me, since this is the same field I worked in while living in San Francisco.

My Wish List

I was advised by many Peace Corps volunteers to create an Amazon Wish List so anyone so inclined may purchase trinkets and bobbles that can be sent to me while serving in Azerbaijan. I have created my wish list, and if anyone feels they would like to indulge their giving nature, I am happy to accept your generosity. The link for my wish list can be found on the right, under the line "Wish List" (clever huh?).

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Small Update

I will be spending my staging time in Philadelphia,PA on May 25th and 26th.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Azerbaijan Religious History Lesson

For those who don't know, the countries in Central Asia and the Middle East that are known as the "stans" are so called because stan means "the land of". So, Afghanastan is the Land of Afghans. Azerbaijan obviously does not fit this mold, and is literally translated as "The Fire Land".

The naming is interesting because it is based on an ancient religion called Zoroastrian, founded by Zarathustra. The Greeks estimated that Zarathrusta lived 3,000 years before Plato. His religious philosophy is believed to be the basis for most modern monotheistic religions. Fire is the symbol of the religion, hence "The Land of Fire". On the Persian New Year the villagers build giant bon fires and jump over them seven times.

It is interesting that these traditions have survived both Russian rule and Islam. On grave stones that are centuries old the fire symbol can be found next to Christian, Islam and Jewish symbols.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Map of Azerbaijan

Free Image Hosting at <a href=" />www.imageshack.us"
Welcome to my blog. I will use this site to chronicle my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. My destination will be Azerbaijan, located just north of Iran and south of Russia. Azerbaijan has a population just shyof 8 million and is roughly the size of Maine. I don’t know what city I will be in, information is on a need to know basis, and apparently I don’t need to know.

I will be leaving on May 24th for a city to be named later, probably Philadelphia, where I will spend two days in “staging”. After that, I will leave for Azerbaijan and spend three months in language and job training. Once that is over, it is off to my site for two years of Peace Corps service.

I will be at Oklahoma State University for the remainder of the semester, where I will earn my second degree, a Bachelors in Economics. I will remain in Stillwater till May 8th at the latest. From there I will travel to Dallas for a few days and then to Lexington where I will remain till I leave for my assignment.

I have been in contact with volunteers already servingin Azerbaijan, and it appears that I will have regular internet access and probably a cell phone. Under the links on this page I have a link to a web site that sells phone cards for most countries. If anyone needs to speak with me you can get a phone card, about 150 minutes for $20. In the mean time, I can be reached by email or cellphone.

Once I have a mailing address I will post it.