As most of you know I’m chillen in Kyrgyzstan these days. Officially I am an English teacher (I know hilarious because I can’t spell). I’ve also been working on a ton of other projects in my village that I think have been a lot more beneficial. Along with some really awesome people I’ve met in my village we’ve brought in experts to host agricultural trainings, broke ground this week on a greenhouse we are constructing, are in the process of planning a week long leadership camp in the mountains for about 40 students, and are hopefully going to attempt to find a solution for the water problem that the village faces.
One of the other big projects I am working on is trying to help develop the eco-tourism in the region. Kyrgyzstan is beautiful, and this region in particularly breathtaking; over 90% of the land is above 4,900 feet above sea level with numerous untouched peaks over 13,000 feet stretching for over 60 miles south to the Chinese border. The region also has the world’s second largest alpine lake and a number of waterfalls, including the country’s largest waterfall.
The group I am working with to develop eco-tourism in the region is a local family operated company called Shepherds Way (see end of post for how you can help!!). Shepherds Way has worked with international tourists since 1995. Currently the company only takes clients on horse treks, but would like to expand to backpacking treks as they have had many requests from European clients for this service.
The project with Shepherds Way is twofold. First, we will hold a 3 day long guiding seminar where the companies 10 current guides will learn techniques that will give them the skills to lead backpacking treks. This will be followed by an overnight
active practicum where the guides will get a chance to practice the techniques they just learned. Second, over the summer 10 students from the village will be chosen to participate in 4 different hikes in the mountains. This will give the guides the opportunity to pass on their knowledge of and love for the mountains to the next generation of Kyrgyz youth. After successfully implementing this project this summer we have hopes of continuing the development of ec0-tourism by opening a tourist center in the village.
Tourism is the future of Kyrgyzstan and this region is an amazing place for trekking. It would really be a shame if the eco-tourism opportunities this region were developed by big companies from other countries or from Kyrgyzstan’s capital instead of local families in the village. Our goal is to help develop eco-tourism in the region that ensures the local population is an active participate and sees that economic benefit.
More information about the project can be found at https://www.peacecorps.gov/
I hope all of you are doing great and I miss each of you a lot! Also, please feel free to pass this project on to anybody you think may be interested.
Below are just a few of the amazing pictures I've taken on treks in the region.