Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Adjusting to life in Tashkent

First off, driving as you can expect is crazy! The lines are for decoration only. Seatbelts aren't even available in the backseat. Never run a red light, because the other direction will have already started moving. Turning left means drive into the middle of the intersection and wait. Honking your horn is a necessity - to say get out of my way, or to claim your right of way on a narrow street. (or maybe a friendly greeting?!?) And always be aware of pedestrians - they never have right of way (unless you feel like giving it to them) but will cross the street at any given place and stand in the middle of the road until there is an opening.

Last night we walked to a small market down the road from our hotel (kind of like a plaid pantry). Funny thing is more than half of it was filled with sweets, desserts, candies, etc. And not one Coke Light to be found :) On our walk back - we saw one of the first American things in Tashkent....a 7-11! Although we've been told that it may just be a copy cat.

As for entertaining ourselves....there is absolutely no english channels on the TV. A few shows that are dubbed over in Russian - unfortunately you can't hear the english underneath. But we are educating ourselves on sports such as - rugby, fencing, biathalon (cross country ski & shooting) and of course hockey! But the best news was seeing the end of the NBA all star game this morning. Go West and B-Roy was awesome :)

Today at the orphanage started a little earlier, but we were also able to integrate more hands on application of the material. Most of the caregivers seem to be really invested in these kids and want to learn how to best help them. I think one of the hardest parts is that they want to bring us the most challenging kids for help - which is great, but sometimes we can't show them an immediate answer and the process may be slow - which is hard for them to understand. Many of the kids have serious orthopedic impairments - kyphosis, scoliosis, subluxed hips - making them very difficult to work with developmentally. There are definintely many barriers in explaining more abstract concepts when working with kiddos - especially with sensory processing or starting with head control before moving onto standing/walking. But they are all eager to learn, so we are hoping to work past some of these barriers!

It is very fun to be able to see results right away, or at least be able to demonstrate how to advance a kiddo's skills. This morning I (Stephanie) was talking about how to teach a child to sit and advance those skills to include trunk rotation and reaching across midline. The staff brought down a little girl this afternoon who could sit on her own - but do NOT ask her to reach outside of her base of support. I was able to show staff how to encourage her to bear weight through one arm while reaching across. She was even able to side sit and hold this position with hands free! It was great to show them each step of the process and tomorrow we will use these skills with her to work on transitions!!! :)

I (Torri) was able to work with Roma, the sensory kiddo from yesterday again. He calmed much more quickly this time, although still burst into tears as soon as he entered the therapy room. Roma is a kiddo who loves extension and reverts back to this position when he is startled or becomes upset for any reason. This afternoon, I was able to get him out of this pattern much more frequently - while trying to explain to caregivers how his sensory defensiveness impairs his ability to make progress motorically. The staff was able to try joint compression and feed how he responded to deep pressure input. However, at the end of the session they still very quickly picked him up and rushed him over to his chair. A task to address as the days go on....

For lunch today we went to a small house, where a family also runs a restaurant. Yulduz (one of the staff members) highly recommended it and took us there. Very good food! We had bread and tea (all of us). While Torri had lamb soup (without lamb)....not sure how that worked. While I (stephanie) had noodle soup with lamb and lamb kabobs - fabulous!!! All our food for $2 each or 6000 suls. Tonight we are off to Chineese food, being as we are so close to China - we're excited to see how this tastes. It's a very expensive local restaurant (which does serve wine & beer) - our dinner should cost roughly 15000-20000 suls or $10-13. We'll let you know....

Sorry for the therapy talk in the middle - but gives you a good picture of our day :) You can tell we had plenty of time today on the internet....

Steph and Torri


  1. Steph & Torri,
    Thanks for the Post. We are all enjoying reading of your days. And the food.

    Steph, check your facebook. I think that mom wrote you a quick message there. She tried the Blogspot comment and had the same problems that I encountered prior to setting up the gmail account. We will have to work on that later.


    PS: since Google got involved with Blogspot they have really messed it up. Too many software barriers that don't always work.

  2. Thanks for sharing what your day is like. It's so interesting to hear about another culture. Looks like you have your work cut out for you.
    Love.. Aunt Karen