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December in Baku

Volunteer Blog

Baku, Azerbaijan , December 2013 (By Ryan Thackaberry)

So after a few weeks of being in Baku I began to settle in and started to explore…

Ryan's Class Main

My first impressions of the city were “what have I just walked into?” it looked like a level out of Call Of Duty, however after going out into the city, spending time with the ASU staff and visiting some sites with the training course, you really begin to see what this place is really about.

Although very different from the UK in almost every respect and despite unreliable local amenities (water, electricity, etc) no bacon and a traffic system that’s literally mind boggling, I began to really enjoy myself.

Everyone here is so welcoming and friendly, they can understand there’s going to be a language barrier when you go into their shop or bar and really try to help you as much as they can, the only thing I can’t work out if I enjoy or not is being stared at. I have tattoo covering both of my arms and here that’s kind of rare (later I was told it indicates I may have been in prison and should be respected) but people will often ask me if they can look and look upon them with a little wonder.

December was in interesting month, we spent time working an internship with the United Nations, attended a book release and dressed up as roller skating Santa’s in exchange for the equivalent of £50. One of the most interesting days was the visit to various religious building (mosque, church, synagogue) and seeing how all the different faiths help each other here, a real example of how easy it is to cooperate with different beliefs (UK can learn a lot!)

So that’s enough I think for December and look forward to January!