Joan Heron served in the Peace Corps in Turkmenistan from 1995 to 1997 as a Health Volunteer. She holds both an R.N. and a Ph.D.
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Chai Budesh? Anyone for Tea? A Peace Corps Memoir of Turkmenistan
Peace Corps experience, non-fiction
$29.95 (soft cover)
(Order from Amazon)
Joan talks about Chai Budesh?
This book takes the reader along on my adventures in Turkmenistan from 1995 to 1997, when this newly independent Muslim country was still embedded in Soviet culture. This was a tremendously fulfilling experience for me, a 62-year-old woman, as I used every skill I had developed over a lifetime. As a nurse, I helped develop programs to enhance the health of women and children; their success relying largely on the relationships I developed with my Turkmen counterparts. These relationships enriched my life and provided the means to get things done.
After first observing what was in health facilities and medical school classrooms, I began discussions with colleagues about what could be done. My intention to accomplish as much sustainable progress as I could in the relatively short time of two years led me to not only working individually with young mothers, but to simultaneously teach groups of women, nurses and doctors. At every step, I was mentoring others to do what I was doing, so that by the time I left, after the first ever national conference on health, I only sat back and watched.
Although I recorded observations about the effects of government on everyday life, this book is neither cynical nor political; the focus is on the beauty and value of individuals as they shared their joys and struggles with me and the ways we could laugh together at obstacles and find a way around them.
Several Turkmen friends, who are English teachers, are using Chai Budesh? in their classes.