My first Kazakh host family was in Kapchagay during the Peace Corps Pre-Service Training. Their job was to teach me Kazakh and learn about
Kazakh food and culture. They were a unique family but nothing like my Kazakh host family in
Kazakhs in the south are very different from their counterparts in the Almaty area. When I
met the Orazimbetovs for the first, they had prepared an apartment for me. But by the late
afternoon, I had moved in with the Orazimbetovs. Azan, the School Director, thought it would
be easier for me to live with a family. He was right. I could not cook any meals from
The first night was memorable. I can still remember the palau (pilaf) my host sisters made.
It was very delicious. I had eight host sisters and one host brother. You can guess it the
youngest was the son aptly named Shurik or "Thank God" in Kazakh.
It was just like a real family. I miss the meals we had together. I miss Kazakh culture.