Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Peace Corps Service at the Gasprinskiy Library comes to an end

Last Thursday (June 20th) was my final day at the Gasprinskiy Library after serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer for four years. The usual Peace Corps service is for two years, but I extended twice for a total of four years, the maximum amount of time a Volunteer can serve at one site. Needless to say, I loved working at the Gasprinskiy Library and didn’t want to leave!

Inci Bowman from International Committee for Crimea (ICC) asked that I do an interview for the ICC website (iccrimea.com) about my experiences working as a Peace Corps Volunteer at the Gasprinskiy Library. I am very happy to do the interview, as it will give me an opportunity to reflect on my time here. I will publish the interview on my blog to share my thoughts with you dear readers. Now I am preparing to leave for Kyiv and my final day in the Peace Corps at the Ukraine headquarters, and then I am off to Georgia for a three-week hiking trip in the Caucasus with another Peace Corps Volunteer. 

Here are some photos from the lovely farewell celebration the library had for me on Thursday:
With Alie, Director of Window on America Center, who helped me with translating.

Gulnara, Director of the library, gives me a present of Crimean Tatar needlework.

And flowers too!

Natalia, Director of the Orlovka Children's Library, gives me a I Love Crimea bag.

Watching the powerpoint I prepared on my library memories.

Refreshments on the porch of the library (which I missed because of a TV interview).
Young Crimean Tatar girls give a performance of traditional dance.

With Nadije and Leonad, Director of the NGO KrimTiz that we partnered with on our last SPA project.
And lots of posing with the Library staff:


Monday, June 10, 2013

Lily Hyde's Dream Land translated into Crimean Tatar

Lily on a hike to the beach at Balaklava

I have had the delightful experience these last few weeks of getting to know Lily Hyde, the British author of Dream Land, the young adult novel published in 2008 about the Crimean Tatar return to their homeland, as seen through the eyes of a young Crimean Tatar girl.  It is the only novel about the Crimean Tatars available in English, and I have long recommended it to any English speaker interested in knowing more about Crimean Tatar history and culture. For several years, copies of Dream Land have been circulating amongst Peace Corps Volunteers here, and it has become the must-read for any Volunteer assigned to Crimea. 
French edition, 2011

UK edition, 2008
A French translation was published in 2011, and last year, Leilya Seitkalilova, English and Crimean Tatar teacher at the Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University in Simferopol (commonly known as the Crimean Tatar University), took on the task of translating Dream Land into Crimean Tatar. The finished edition came from the publisher just in time for the annual Deportation Day memorial gathering in Simferopol on May 18th, and the book was launched at a large event at the University on May 21st

Lily and I both have a passionate love of Crimea and the Crimean Tatar people and have shared many hikes and discussions these past few weeks. I congratulate her on her wonderful achievement of taking the Crimean Tatar stories she learned from numerous interviews and bringing them to life through the tale of a young girl returning to her homeland. And now the publication of Dream Land in Crimean Tatar will give Crimean Tatar speakers a chance to read this important book in their native language. Lily—and many of her fans--hope that the availability of Dream Land will continue to grow through future translations in Turkish, Russian, and Romania, the languages of the vast Crimean Tatar diasporas.
Crimean Tatar edition, 2013

For more information about Lily and her books, check out her website www.lilyhyde.com.