More
Hide
Share

Book Review: Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt

Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt - Expat Stories from Kazakhstan

Edited by Monica Neboli

It is hard to believe that Kazakhstan, or any of the –stan countries, stands in top place on a wish-list of posting destinations for international employees and their families. Brutally hot summers and equally challenging winters, and a long history of membership in the former USSR are not tempting sales pitches.

While the notoriously beautiful Tian Shan mountain range may be a draw card for adventure seekers, getting there on a backpacker’s budget is going to take significant reserves of time and patience, a scarcity in our modern technologically advanced universe. Yet maybe this old world pace (and charm) is fundamental to why many expats develop a deep fondness for Kazakhstan.

An anthology of essays written by expats who have taken the challenge of a posting in Kazakhstan is now available to introduce the uninitiated to this magical land. Edited by Monica Neboli, Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt is a collection of musings and observations by people who have lived and worked in Kazakhstan, and wanted to discover what the country and culture were about.

The book has six chapters, beginning with a chapter about the experience of moving to Kazakhstan. Three different stories relate newcomer observations: severe cold weather and the kindness of a taxi driver (Jacyntha England); the extremes in the seasons (Erika Rosati); and, how to order food when you can’t speak either Kazakh or Russian (Johanna Means).

The essays in chapter two educate the reader about the history and traditions of Kazakhstan. Especially sobering is Stanley Currier’s essay about the Soviet-era Labor Camps that held over a million prisoners, both Kazakhs and political prisoners from countries including Lithuania, Germany, Korea, – during Stalin’s communist regime from 1932-1959. Essays by Kristina Gray and Machteld Vrieze give insight into the Kazakh culture, including the need of local people to find kurdas - people of the same sex born in the same year and regarded as sacred due to its connection to the ancient cycle of life, and the tradition of marriage in the life of Kazakh women.

Chapters three and four cover the topics of living in urban Almaty, Atyrau and Astana: driving, children, culture, and experiences related to developing friendships with local people.

Essays in chapter five are based on excursions the individual authors have made into the Kazakh outback, an undeveloped wilderness dotted with small villages and nomads working according to an ancient timeframe.

Then there is a heartwarming story from Victoria Charbonneau on her work with orphans in a remote area of Kazakhstan. In her story, she identifies the incredible hardship impacting on this section of the Kazakh population, and the instinctive human need to survive. The chapter ends with an account of the Kazakhstan leg of The Long Horse Ride, an endurance ride from China to London coinciding with the 2012 Olympic Games – by Rowena Haigh and Yolanda Cook, who rode and walked their horses across Kazakhstan in March 2011, discovering the natural beauty of the country.

Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt is not a travel guide to Kazakhstan. It is a series of essays about a relatively unknown land by expats, all with their own personal and professional backgrounds that influence the telling of their individual story. Yet what unites this collection of stories is a love of Kazakhstan - the landscape, food, culture and the people.

Review by;
Ana McGinley
http://anamcginley.blogspot.ca


Check out our other book reviews:

Before I Go to Sleep | Distant Hours | It Happened in India | Shopaholic & Sister | The Lady of the Rivers | Game of Thrones | Hinterland | A Clash of Kings | The Help | The Wicked Girls | Stolen Destinies | The Emotionally Resilient Expat
 

On ExpatWoman Today

Are You Moving Back Home? Here

Are You Moving Back Home? Here's a Repatriation Check List

Let

Let's Talk About Emotional Eating at Awareness GroupTalk at Bluelights

Do You Want to Become a Wedding Planner? Here

Do You Want to Become a Wedding Planner? Here's an Easy Way to Learn

SIX Weeks of Dubai Summer Surprises Starts THIS Weekend

SIX Weeks of Dubai Summer Surprises Starts THIS Weekend

16 Awh-Worthy Pictures of Dogs in Dubai

16 Awh-Worthy Pictures of Dogs in Dubai

Traffic Fines Have Been Reduced by 50% for Dubai Drivers

Traffic Fines Have Been Reduced by 50% for Dubai Drivers

Skype Has Been Blocked in the UAE (Again)

Skype Has Been Blocked in the UAE (Again)

5 Eid Al Fitr Offers Less than 100 Dhs to Enjoy

5 Eid Al Fitr Offers Less than 100 Dhs to Enjoy

The First Day of Eid Al Fitr Has Been Confirmed

The First Day of Eid Al Fitr Has Been Confirmed

Here

Here's Why the Dubai Marina Turned Orange

Where to Watch the Eid Al Fitr Fireworks in the UAE

Where to Watch the Eid Al Fitr Fireworks in the UAE

It Rained in the UAE This Week

It Rained in the UAE This Week

Aesthetic Offers in Time for Eid!

Aesthetic Offers in Time for Eid!

How to Deal with a Broken Crown

How to Deal with a Broken Crown

WhatsApp Video and Voice Calls Are Now Working in the UAE

WhatsApp Video and Voice Calls Are Now Working in the UAE

Fancy a Spot of House Hunting in the UK?

Fancy a Spot of House Hunting in the UK?

Specialist Dentist Dr. Imneet Presents Lecture On Laser Dentistry

Specialist Dentist Dr. Imneet Presents Lecture On Laser Dentistry

Explore Iceland Water Park - The Coolest Place in the Desert!

Explore Iceland Water Park - The Coolest Place in the Desert!

Top 10 Things That You Need to Know About PCOS

Top 10 Things That You Need to Know About PCOS

Make a Difference with Kärcher Cleaning Technology

Make a Difference with Kärcher Cleaning Technology

How a General Steam Cleaner Can Help in Thoroughly Cleaning a House

How a General Steam Cleaner Can Help in Thoroughly Cleaning a House

How to Prevent Your Child Going Down the

How to Prevent Your Child Going Down the 'Summer Slide'

Infertility - Battling the Feelings of Not Being Enough

Infertility - Battling the Feelings of Not Being Enough

In Pictures: HR Breakfast with Thenji Macanda

In Pictures: HR Breakfast with Thenji Macanda

How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal

How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal

Now You Need an Attested Ejari Contract to Activate Your DEWA

Now You Need an Attested Ejari Contract to Activate Your DEWA

Dubai

Dubai's Roads Will Be Painted Red to Show Speed Limit Changes

Temperatures Officially Reached 50°C in the UAE This Week

Temperatures Officially Reached 50°C in the UAE This Week

Offer: Father

Offer: Father's Day Special Health Package at Allied Medical Center

How to Make Eid Special for the Entire Family This Year

How to Make Eid Special for the Entire Family This Year

Tips for Taking Care of Your Kids During Summer

Tips for Taking Care of Your Kids During Summer

The UAE

The UAE's Midday Break for Outdoor Workers Has Begun

Five Common Lifestyle Habits That Can Damage Your Teeth

Five Common Lifestyle Habits That Can Damage Your Teeth

Eid Al Fitr Holidays Announced for Public and Private Sectors

Eid Al Fitr Holidays Announced for Public and Private Sectors

6 Traditional Gift Ideas for Eid Al Fitr

6 Traditional Gift Ideas for Eid Al Fitr

Review: A Face Oil That Works Wonders

Review: A Face Oil That Works Wonders

5 Causes You Still Have Time to Support This Ramadan

5 Causes You Still Have Time to Support This Ramadan

Proper Management of Your Body During Ramadan

Proper Management of Your Body During Ramadan

How to Achieve a Healthy Gut During Ramadan

How to Achieve a Healthy Gut During Ramadan

World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at the Coolest Waterpark in the UAE

World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at the Coolest Waterpark in the UAE

How to Make the Best Use of Space in a Dubai Home

How to Make the Best Use of Space in a Dubai Home

5 Ways You Can Embrace the Spirit of Ramadan this Year

5 Ways You Can Embrace the Spirit of Ramadan this Year

Specialist Pediatric Dentist Dr. Madan Visits Tender Hearts Arena

Specialist Pediatric Dentist Dr. Madan Visits Tender Hearts Arena