Each year we have several delegations come to Kazakhstan from the USA. Each delegation usually has between 10-15 people who stay here for 10-14 days. To be honest, there is a lot of extra work that goes into hosting a delegation. Delegations tend to cause much of our other work to be put on hold. However, despite the extra work and change in routine, I absolutely love having delegations here.
Although I enjoy having other people from the USA here, especially this year, this is not the primary reason I love delegations. I have grown to love Kazakhstan and claim it as my own. Although I am still grateful to be a US citizen, I am just as thankful for the time I have spent in Kazakhstan. I consider this country "my country" and the people here "my people." As a result, the thing I enjoy most about delegations is watching new people fall in love with my people and my country. I love watching someone come over for the first time who is a little apprehensive and then leave a few days later leaving part of their heart behind.
It's the people of Kazakhstan we fall in love with. It's the relationships that can carry across borders that draw people back to Kazakhstan over and over again. Delegates come to Kazakhstan hoping to make a difference in the lives of the children we work with and usually leave finding that they have grown and changed for the good as a result of the relationships they have built. I love being here to watch this transformation take place.
Here are some pictures of my time with the Savva Delegation.