The German Kevin Rafalski fell in love with Kyrgyzstan during his first visit, when he worked for a year as a volunteer in one of the organizations that assists mentally and physically disabled people. And then he learned about the programme «Professional Education in Central Asia» and realized that this is a good opportunity to contribute to the development of food technology in the region.
«I wanted to widen my horizon and gather more experience about other cultures and living conditions compared to the overprotected life in Germany. Short: I wanted to have some adventure,» he explained his decision to stay in our republic.
Today Kevin Rafalski is a specialist in the development of GIZ Programme «Professional Education in Central Asia» and lives in Kara-Balta.
He coordinates the program implemented in cooperation with the Kara-Balta Technical Economical College and the GIZ program.
I am trying to open peoples mind to help them understand, that dual education is something good.Kevin Rafalski
— What problems did you encounter when you came to Kyrgyzstan?
— I did not encounter great difficulties, but I am always surprised at the manner of driving of the local drivers. Although the traffic rules are universal throughout the world, I am amazed at how local drivers interpret them.
This style of driving is radically different from German.
-What surprises you in Kyrgyzstan?
-When I came to Kyrgyzstan first time I was surprised, that you have Internet with a way better speed and public access than in Germany! Like almost every café or restaurant offers public internet. That’s something I currently can only dream of in Germany.
What surprised me as well was that people, who in first hand might have an angry face expression, turn out to be very kind and hospitable.
-What reminds you of your hometown in Kara — Balta?
— Nothing. But that’s something I came here for: to be not reminded of my hometown. Otherwise, I could have stayed in Germany.
-What do you miss in Kyrgyzstan?
-The infrastructure and a place, where young people can meet and share time and exchange with each other. My friends and family.
-What is your favorite place in Kara-Balta?
-Whatever place I can see the mountains from, while sunset.
-What do you like in the national cuisine, and what are you afraid even to try?
-I love plov with raisins, fresh kymyz (horse milk) and fried lagman, but I would never ever again try chuchuk. It’s just something unusual for me but I am glad that local people like it, respect and treat it on a high level, this shows a huge respect to the culture of Kyrgyzstan.
-What has fascinated and disappointed you in close acquaintance with the local population?
— Like I already mentioned, the hospitality of people even when they do not have much to offer, they are always nice and welcoming. This is not something that is common in other countries. Additionally I like the value of a family in Kyrgyzstan, it is always treated on a high respective level which I am amused.
From time to time people seem to be without patience. Like during the riding a car, I like when it is all calm and quite.Kevin Rafalski
-What would you change in Kara-Balta?
-Due to there is no place to go or to be for young people, to exchange and spend leisure time with each other, beside consumption oriented places, I would like to set up such a place, so young people have the opportunity to develop social thinking and recognize their environment as a community, who is dependent on each other.
— What do you like most of all living in Kyrgyzstan?
— My wife (laughs), who is a Kyrgyzstani. Joke aside, I like the simplicity of life in Kyrgyzstan.
People here are happy with the simplest things, and this cannot but is liked by any foreigner. I bit by bit learn from the local population this gift — to love everything around you.Kevin Rafalski