Global Village Program
Nurek Affiliate - Tajikistan
Air Travel - Outbound
Prior to 9/11 I would have asked that all of you wear your Global Village t-shirt the day you leave the
U.S. This is a great way to spot each other in the airports. However, given the current situation
throughout the world, it would not be in our best interest to identify ourselves as a group – let alone
individuals from the USA! Take a look at your clothing and your luggage to make sure you don’t have
red, white and blue on any of them or anything else that screams American. We’ll just use the
autobiographies, found later in this manual, to help us find each other. Shortly before we leave on the
trip I will e-mail you a photo of myself in my exact travel clothes to help you find me.
A word of caution based upon experience. Book your U.S. domestic flight to arrive at your gateway city
airport with PLENTY of time before your international flight. It can take a long time for your domestic
flight to taxi around on the runways and then you will have to go to the International Terminal. There
will probably be very long lines and the earlier you arrive to check-in the better off you will be.
According to my travel agent, you are required to arrive at check-in for the overseas flight no less
than two and a half (2 ½) hours prior to departure. This is critical because the flights are usually
oversold and they may not let you board (even though you have a valid ticket) if you arrive late! I’ve
seen them refuse a boarding pass to people who arrived just under the time limit. If you should
experience this, it would cause problems for the whole team....so be there well ahead of time.
Just to be safe, I would strongly suggest that you allow three and a half hours between flights. Missing
an international flight could cause you and myself (as your team leader) big problems. If you miss the
flight because you booked yourself too tight a connection, it is not considered an emergency by Habitat
and you are on your own. As a precaution you should photocopy the very last page of all your tickets.
Carry one copy with you and leave one at home in a safe place. This can really help facilitate
replacement should you lose your tickets. Of course, if you have an electronic ticket for your domestic
flight this is not possible. I’d also recommend that you photocopy your trip itinerary from the ticket
packet and leave a copy with your family at home and put a copy in each piece of luggage.
If, because of your original airline’s fault, you miss your connection to Istanbul, you should go to the
airline or sister airline desk and request that they put you on another flight with another airline.
Once we arrive in Istanbul at the airport, we will get our Turkish visas at the Visa window on the left
which is before the Immigration desks. This process doesn’t take long and I would ask you to proceed
right to the Visa counter and get your visa. The process is very quick and the cost is a $20 bill. Then
we can collect our luggage and go out into the arrival hall to meet each other and our tour guide who
will be holding a Habitat for Humanity sign.
We will be transferring to the Hotel to stay overnight. This is the same hotel we will be using when we
return to Istanbul from Tajikistan if you stay over for the optional two day tour.
After we get settled into our rooms, if you wish I will lead you on a short walk to the famous
Hippodrome on our way to dinner at a local restaurant.
On the 28th we will check out of the hotel and spend the day touring in Istanbul both walking (because
we will be close to some of the more famous sights), and with a private small bus to transport us around.
We will be seeing some of the most famous places in Istanbul during this day and you won’t be
disappointed with the various locations.
The travel agency who will be giving us an Istanbul tour during the day on the 16th will take us back to
the airport that night where we will have a night flight to Dushanbe. This night flight is about 5 hours
long and arrives in Dushanbe at the early hour of 3:00 a.m. The Dushanbe airport is very
undeveloped and there is nowhere to buy any food or water. So a BIG WORD OF WARNING!!!
HAVE SOME GRANOLA BARS OR SOMETHING TO EAT WHILE WE WAIT IN
DUSHANBE. And you will want some water. We can take bottles of water from the bus which
will be transporting us to the airport in Istanbul. There will be a meal served on this flight and then
you will have no opportunity to buy food until breakfast in Dushanbe.
In Dushanbe we will have to fill out landing cards upon entering the terminal. Once that is finished and
we have cleared the customs desks we will then wait in the small and stark luggage area in the
International terminal until our luggage comes in. This can often take an hour or more. We will have to
show our luggage ID numbers to exit this area with our bags so don’t lose that little baggage claim
Air Travel – home bound
When we first arrive back in Istanbul from Tajikistan, we will be met at the airport by the Turkish
Travel Agency representative. Those of you returning home yet that day will remain at the terminal.
For those staying for the optional tour, we will go immediately to one of the tourist sites and begin our
At the very end of the optional tour, the travel agency will transfer us to the airport the morning of
October 7 for our homebound flights. If you have an earlier flight, the hotel will arrange for a taxi to
pick you up and take you to the airport earlier.
The lighter you travel on a short term mission trip the better. You can expect to handle your own
luggage once we get to Tajikistan. Let me warn you that you will be dragging your luggage up some
flights of stairs. The current recommendation is to not lock your luggage. Personally, I am
uncomfortable with this and will be locking my bag with a lightweight lock and carrying an extra lock
with me for the homebound trip, should they cut it off. I’ve yet to have a luggage
lock cut off – but there could be a first time. The travel agent tells me that they
ARE opening quite a few bags at the security screening points within the depths of
Another tip is to somehow mark your luggage so that you can easily spot it on the
luggage carousel. It seems that black bags are everywhere and anything you can
do to make yours stand out is to your advantage. After thirteen years of Habitat trips, my luggage
(covered with yellow duct tape stripes and easy to spot) wore out and I got a new piece of luggage last
year. My husband and I had a blast spray painting it in all sorts of crazy designs and colors. As seen
here, it is definitely “art deco” and easy to spot and would not be a bag for someone to try to steal
because it is much too obvious and crazy looking!
The airport in Dushanbe is very undeveloped and you will not be able to purchase anything or change
money there. So prepare ahead for the air travel through Tajikistan. On the way back to Turkey, this
will also be an issue because of our departure time. We will leave Dushanbe for Istanbul at 5:00 a.m.
As you know, carry-on luggage is carefully checked and the USA airport security people are real
sticklers about one quart size plastic bag with your liquids – in containers of 3 oz or under.
If any of you do not get your entire luggage at any airport, you will have to file a claim in the claim area
near the luggage carousel. It is a long, slow, tedious process that you must complete before you pass
through customs and exit the luggage area. You should give them the hotel phone number - found later
in this manual. Hopefully, no one will have this problem.
TIP: I always carry photos of my luggage with me. This is very helpful when I have to go to the lost
luggage office and file a claim. ANOTHER TIP: I always place a copy of my complete itinerary
inside my luggage where it is in sight when the luggage is first opened. This can also help in case your
outside tags should become torn off.
From (not fun) personal experience, I can tell you that you need to keep EVERY ONE of your boarding
passes for the entire trip. If your luggage gets lost on the way home and does not arrive with you and
cannot be found, you will need to provide the airline photocopies of all of them.
You will need an official passport and a visa for travel in Turkey and the same for
We will be getting our visa for Turkey as we arrive at the Istanbul airport. For the Tajikistan visa, I
have sent your names and travel dates to the travel agent in Turkey and to Habitat Tajikistan and they
will be getting the necessary forms and air itineraries to me. I will then forward them to you with very
specific instructions regarding how to fill them out and where to send the forms, fees, and your passport
for the visa. We have an arrangement with a visa agency (ABriggs) who gives Habitat customers a 50%
discount on visa services and they sure do grease the wheels for getting this complicated visa!
We will be living in Nurek – a small city about an hour
and 15 minutes deep into the mountains southeast of the
capitol city of Dushanbe. This sleepy town is quiet and
laid back with typical Russian influence. On the right is
a photo of the town square with a statue of Stalin. The
town was developed at the same time as the building of the hydro-electric dam – in the early 1960’s.
The Habitat building sites are located about 7km outside of the town. For more information, see the
Nurek section later in this manual. This document was developed by Habitat Tajikistan about the Nurek
In Tajikistan, the languages are Tajik, Russian and various Persian languages. Tajik is the official
language that most people in Tajikistan speak but Russian is as common. During our in-country
orientation at the Habitat office, you will probably be given a simple language sheet. I have found that
the local people love it when you try to speak their language and they enjoy laughing at/with you as you
put your own twist on their words. The Habitat office is arranging for staff and volunteers to
accompany us at all times so that we have a means of communicating with the local folks who do not
My previous experience in Tajikistan, where no one at the work sites spoke English, was just as
profound as other countries where there were English speakers. Body language, compassion and a
selfless servant heart speak louder than words!
The temperature in Tajikistan should be Fall like when we are there. In Nurek, daytime temperatures
could be around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Evening temperatures will be in the 50’s or a little cooler.
In Turkey the average temperature for that time of the year is about the same. In case of a cooler spell, I
would recommend that you take along a jacket, sweatshirt and even possibly a turtleneck. A good
weather site for checking the Nurek weather as the time gets closer is:
http://weather.weatherbug.com/Tajikistan/Nurek-weather.html You can click on the 7-day forecast
and get a good last minute idea of what type clothing to take along.
In Turkey, when not in the air, we will be traveling mostly in a nice 27 passenger mini bus. In
Tajikistan we will be traveling by van.
I am always keenly aware that Westerners are considered to be loud and boisterous. It is my hope that
our team can dispel some of those myths by being particularly sensitive to the local culture – wherever
we are. In fact we will be working on “cultural sensitivity” as a part of our team meetings. There are no
strong Do’s and Don’ts in Turkey or Tajikistan. I received the following cultural information from my
contact person at the Habitat office in Tajikistan. “The male/female interaction is the usual
communication. Hand gestures are the same as in US or in Europe. Regarding
eating customs, I would say there is no special difference between cultures,
except we pray after the meal, not before.” My recommendation is to carefully watch our
hosts for clues to social customs and to be open to behaving in a way which is acceptable to the people
of Tajikistan and does not draw attention.
Smoking, Alcohol, Illegal Drugs
Smoking is fairly common in Tajikistan. So is drinking of alcoholic beverages. Habitat discourages
drinking alcohol at any Habitat function, but we will take our clue from the situation and the local
Habitat folks. It has been my past experience in this country that alcohol is NOT served at Habitat
functions. For our team meals at restaurants alcohol may be ordered but must be paid for by you
personally and separately, because the team account book cannot reflect the purchase of any alcohol
with team funds. Use of illegal drugs by team members is forbidden at all times and will be cause for
being dismissed from the team and returned to the U.S.
Habitat strictly forbids romance between any team member and a national in the host country. This
circumstance could completely disrupt the intent of a Global Village short term mission trip. While we
are there to build houses AND relationships, the intent is not to build romantic relationships. Harsh as it
may seem, in the event of such an occurrence, Habitat directs team leaders to put the involved team
member on a plane for home.
Because I cannot know the individual medical needs of team members I do not make it a policy to
recommend your immunizations. Whatever you do, don't wait until the last minute to get to an
international travel clinic. They will be your expert for medical recommendations - not myself as your
team leader! You should have this completed no later than the end of August to allow for time to
experience any reactions you may have and immunity to build up within your body. Every travel clinic
in the U.S. uses the same information from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). However, the timing
of shots varies from clinic to clinic. There seems to be little in the way of immunization requirements
for entering Turkey and Tajikistan. Something your travel clinic/nurse will want to know is whether you
will be working in a rural area. The answer is yes, but you won’t be handling any animals.
There ARE malaria mosquitoes in Tajikistan in the lowlands. We will not be working in a lowland area
but we will be there during the spring rainy time. I personally am going to take anti-malaria medication
this time – for the first time in my travels to Tajikistan. That is because of the time of the year. It will
be up to you and your travel clinic whether you take the anti-malaria medication. However it is very
important that you have an up-to-date tetanus vaccination. I would recommend that you ask your family
doctor for a CIPRO prescription and get it filled and bring those tablets along. They can be helpful in
case of persistent travel illness.
You will need to have a small amount of American cash for changing in the European layovers for
buying snacks and any souvenirs. The only thing you will need to pay for in Tajikistan is any extra food
items that you might like, your alcohol at dinner and souvenirs. In Turkey you would also be
responsible for several meals, souvenirs, snacks, and alcoholic beverages.
In Tajikistan, traveler’s checks are not accepted. You will be able to exchange US currency and
withdraw from the ATM’s on your VISA or MASTER CARD or your bank debit card. However, don’t
go on this trip without some cash because ATM’s in foreign countries don’t always work well. I was
able to withdraw from my home bank account in Dushanbe. Don’t count on being able to use an ATM
Money should be carried on your person and under your clothes except for a small amount of incidental
money you need handy. With all of my many travels, I have found that I MUCH prefer a cloth shoulder
holster type of “under the clothing” pouch for valuables. A holster is comfortable, stays in place right
under your arm and is less obvious than a neck pouch. However, these shoulder holster bags can be a bit
hard to find. I have seen them in Eddie Bauer and in airport travel shops. Neck pouches would be my
second choice. They are fairly comfortable and easy to manage. You can purchase one of these at
Eddie Bauer and lots of other places. My last choice - based upon comfort - is a money belt for under
the clothes. Fanny packs work very well for holding a small amount of money for walking around and
are less easy to steal in a "bump and run" theft attempt. Children who pickpocket or distract a tourist so
they can steal are common in some foreign cities. So are pickpockets in train stations and crowded
tourist areas. Recently, I experienced my first pickpocket in a crowded market in Senegal. Sometime,
during a team meeting or at lunch or other time on the trip, .I’ll tell you about my “knee jerk” reaction to
feeling a hand slip in my pocket, I shocked the pickpocket and me too!
First Aid Supplies
Take along with you whatever first aid supplies you think you might need. A minimum would be some
band-aids, antiseptic ointment, anti-diarrhea meds and constipation meds. When we consider the
supplies team members bring along, we always seem to have a nice assortment of first aid items and we
can carry simple supplies to each work site. I will be taking a fairly comprehensive “wilderness 14
person” first aid kit to complement the supplies you bring along. This kit includes a small disposable
syringe and needle that could be used by the local nurse if necessary.
In Tajikistan you should be able to buy most things which you are used to, but it may be hard or
inconvenient to find them. So bring along all medications, first-aid, female necessities, contact lens
supplies, film, flashlight and camera batteries and other items that you will need throughout your in-
country stay. It is also amazing how useful a small roll of duct tape, electrical tape and some cotton
string and small rope/cotton string can be. You might even want a few clothespins for hanging your
underwear to dry at our house. Clothes hangers can be useful too.
Accommodations while at the affiliate
We will be staying in a large old house close to the center of
Nurek. It is within a walled compound and there are several
other houses there among the gardens of fruit trees and
flowers. Local legend has it that the Russian president
stayed there years ago while visiting the hydro-electric dam.
The house has five bedrooms and 3 ½ bathrooms. There is
a large room with a pool table, a huge dining room, kitchen
and another room with couches and a table. In short, it is a very nice place to stay. Your bedding and
one towel will be provided.
If you wish to take your own small electrical appliances such as a hair dryer or camera battery charger,
here are the Web sites which will show you exactly what type of adapter plug to take.
http://kropla.com/!c.htm and http://kropla.com/!i.htm Of course you would also need a voltage
converter. If you don’t have any of this stuff, I will be traveling with both and you can use mine.
Your clothing should be durable, simple, and not of sentimental value to you. Your clothing MUST be
labeled with your initials in permanent laundry marker. I would also recommend that you mark your
laundry bags with your initials.
Sturdy comfortable tennis shoes are fine for the work site. Heavy work boots are not at all necessary.
You MUST wear a closed toe shoe at the work site for safety reasons. It is critical that ALL your
shoes be very comfortable for lots of walking
Bandanas can be very handy for a variety of uses. A folding umbrella is a must. You may also really
appreciate one of those cheap rain ponchos – found everywhere for about 99 cents.
Note: It is specifically requested that none of us wear shorts that fall ABOVE the knee. European
clothing is acceptable in the city and at the seashore women wear bathing suits and men swimming
trunks. Long trousers are the only option for the work site construction worksite. Our working
conditions are dirty and physically challenging. Bare legs would get pretty banged up – real quick!
Don’t forget a good hat for blocking the sun. We also do not have to provide hard hats as indicated in
their manual because the work we will be doing does not need the protection of hard hats.
In my opinion, the absolute, far and away, best
thing to wear on these mission trips is hospital
scrubs. They don’t take up much room in a
suitcase, are lightweight, comfortable, easy to get
dry and are modest. They are very comfortable and
cool at the work site and can serve as pajamas at
night. Scrubs can be found used in Goodwill and
Salvation Army stores. In fact these stores will
watch for them for you if you just let them know
you want some. They can also be found at a
reasonable price at Wal Mart and other stores. (At
left you see team members from my September
team in their scrubs at the work site)
I'd recommend packing one or two large zip lock bags for various uses in the field. There are large 2
gallon and even larger size bags which work well for this.
Acceptable official occasion and church wear for women is a skirt and blouse with sleeves or dress with
sleeves. For men, slacks (not jeans) and a button up shirt and no hat. T-shirt and jeans are not
acceptable for these occasions. Good ole khaki pants – huh???
If we do go out to a restaurant in Nurek to eat any meals, casual clothes such as jeans are appropriate.
Recommended clothing for men: Scrubs, khaki pants, work pants/jeans, T-shirts (both short and long
sleeve), cotton shirt for church (necktie not at all necessary), jacket, sweatshirt for early mornings at the
work site, heavy cotton socks (to protect against blisters) hat, old pillow case for laundry bag, etc.
Recommended clothing for women: Scrubs, work pants/jeans, T-shirts (both short and long sleeve),
jacket, and sweat shirt for early mornings, heavy socks, Sunday dress/skirt and hat. Your Sunday shoes
should be very comfortable for walking. You should also bring along an old pillowcase to use as a
There are ladies in Nurek who will do our laundry (outer clothes and socks) for a reasonable fee. They
hang clothes outside to dry, so your clothes may not get dry the day that you send them off for washing.
You should be prepared to wash and dry your own underwear at the house.
Water and Food
Bottled water is available everywhere. You will need to drink only bottled water from the moment you
deplane in Istanbul until we leave Turkey after the build. Do not drink or ingest any other un-bottled
water or tap water ANYWHERE in Turkey or in Tajikistan. Do not brush your teeth with water other
than boiled or bottled water. At all times you need to think ahead in regard to the next bathroom break
and go light on fluids if you suspect it will be a long time.
Do not eat any raw food or fruit that you
do not peel yourself. You might enjoy
having your own small salt and pepper
shaker along. You can purchase some
snack items in Nurek. The photo on the
right shows a typical table setting
(usually a very low table or a high one
that they sit on to eat) and typical food
including their wonderful round bread.
I have already informed them that some
team members are vegetarians and do not
eat meat and/or milk products.
Vegetarians usually find that there is
plenty to eat. However my
recommendation is that vegetarians take along supplemental food such as granola bars, etc. in case they
do not have enough to eat at any given meal.
Food in Tajikistan has a Persian influence with
subtle spices, extensive use of rice, vegetables,
fruits and fancy sweets. Some have referred to
the food as having a meat and dough theme.
Soups, samosas, nan and homemade bread are
common. Yogurt and kurut (a dried milk
product used for travel snacks are also found in
abundance. (The photo on the left is of Plof –
the national rice dish which you will have the
opportunity to eat).
Tea is drunk with reverence. It is the drink of hospitality, offered first to every guest and almost always
drunk from a small bowl. Green tea is the favorite. A cultural note: if your tea is too hot don’t blow on
it, but swirl it gently in the cup without spilling.
You may want to take a roll of toilet paper. Here’s a crazy packing tip - but it works. Put the roll of
toilet paper in a big baggie. Don’t seal it. Drive back and forth over it a couple of times with your car.
This compacts the toilet paper and it takes up much less room in your suitcase. Note: In some
countries including Tajikistan, used toilet paper is NOT to be flushed down the toilet. Instead you
should place it in the container which you will find by the toilet.
I like to take several of the travel pack size of baby wipes. They are useful for so many different things.
In fact, in everything I take, I use travel size. Then I can throw away the containers, lighten my load and
free up room in my suitcase. The complimentary size of lotion and shampoo from motel rooms are
great. I save them all year for my travels during the summer. You can also purchase travel sizes of most
toiletries in a large drug store, WalMart, Meijers, and other large stores.
Camera and film
You might be glad if you brought along all the film you will need and extra batteries for your camera.
You would be able to recharge batteries at the house if you have a power converter and adapter plug.
Just to be safe, if you are taking a digital camera, be sure to pack plenty of batteries or buy a long term
Be sensitive before you start shooting pictures of people and ask their permission first. Also ask before
you start shooting photos at religious sites and other rural cultural places of interest. You should NOT
take photos at military installations or posts, nor of police who may stop us for a traffic check. You will
be very tempted because the police hats are SO interesting, but don’t try it. I don’t want to bail you out!
The physical and mailing address of the Tajikistan National Habitat Office is:
Habitat for Humanity Tajikistan
1st Lakhuti proyezd 29a, Dushanbe
Phone 992-37-221-11-71, 227-74-48
In case of emergency contact the Habitat National Director by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
An emergency contact in Americus, GA is the following cell phone number which is manned 24 hours
per day: 1-229-886-7911. Again – this is for a family emergency only.
PLEASE tell your relatives not to contact the Dushanabe Habitat office asking about you. The staff in
the office probably won’t know details about what is going on with the team. Your family and friends
should be instructed to act upon the theory that “No news is good news” The Habitat staff member who
will be with us at the work sites will have a cell phone and in case of emergency the Dushanbe office
would call or we could call for help. Hopefully that will NOT need to happen. That phone will NOT be
available for personal calls.
Internet access is available at Internet cafes located about 10 blocks from the Nurek house at a
reasonable cost of about 50 cents per hour. These cafes often have computer or power problems and
have no computers available for e-mail. So, please tell the folks at home that you may not be able to e-
mail home every day. A hint: I develop a group called “Home Folks” in my e-mail contact box and
that way, when I do have a chance to e-mail home, the message goes to a lot of people at the same time
and I can be on the Web and off quickly which can be helpful with sometimes very slow and/or
We definitely will NOT be taking gifts to hand out as this is forbidden by Habitat. Gifts perpetuate the
idea that “westerners” are rich and are there to give them handouts. Habitat has a strong policy
forbidding gifts for this very reason. We hope to break down some of that notion by giving the gift of
our friendship and labor and no material gifts. In this way we are demonstrating the idea of a “Hand
Up” not a “Hand Out” which hopefully they will continue to share with each other. I have seen gift
giving cause nasty and ugly fights. I’ve also learned later that gifts to schools never got used for the
children but instead for the personal gain of the administrators.
If you have a favorite game, pack it along for the team to play at night. You might like to bring along a
game such as Uno, or Skipbo. A deck of regular playing cards is a good idea too.
Please understand - YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE ANYTHING! Our labor and our love is enough.
Based on my past experience of what is most effective, I take nothing other than myself. However, I
know that sometimes interested friends and family want to send things and that’s why I’m addressing
the issue. If you have questions about this matter, call or e-mail me.
Typically, the local Habitat works five days a week with Saturday and Sunday off. That may be
changed while the team is in the country. The approximate workday is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with
a one hour break for lunch.
The work site is located 7 km from the town. Our van will take
us each morning and remain at the work site with us all day. The
work will consist mostly of the building of foundations for new
houses. This will mean assisting with trenching and set up of
bituminous concrete foundation. We may also work there with
brick laying and inside finishing work. You can expect to be
carrying lots of big stones and also spending hours passing
buckets of wet cement down a bucket line and bricks down a
brick line. (The photo at left shows a woman on my 2006 team
and the homeowner wife carrying a stone for the foundation
You will definitely need gloves for protection. I'd suggest cotton
gloves with the little black rubber dots or thinner leather ones.
Personally, I use goat skin leather ones and find that they are very
durable and just the right thickness to protect my hands and yet not be too bulky. I buy mine at farm
supply stores. I’m not sure where you city folks might find them. Cotton gloves without the dots wear
out in a day or so. You don’t need heavy leather gloves. In fact, they are too bulky for this type of
work. Mark your gloves some way so you can tell yours from all the others.
Because of strict weight limitations, we will not be taking heavy tools to donate to the affiliate and I’ve
found that they have plenty of tools on hand. However, lightweight items such as construction string,
metric tape measures, plastic spirit levels,
construction pencils and cloth nail aprons would
be greatly appreciated
We will have the opportunity to work with the
home owner families and local volunteers who
come out to help the Habitat families construct
their new home. At the right you see grandsons of
the 83 year old man, pictured on the cover of this
manual, who was going to be living in one of the
houses we worked on. Women are allowed to do
the same work as the men on the construction site.
There will also be paid construction workers at
each work site.
Walking in crowded bazaars and tourist areas places you in a prime position to experience a theft or
pickpocket. Be very aware of children who may try to distract you so that a pickpocket or theft can
happen. Keep all items clutched closely to your body and do not carry money or a wallet in your back
pocket. Always walk in groups. Lock your luggage when leaving your room for the day. The small
luggage locks seem to have a way of disappearing when left unlocked in a room being cleaned by local
women. Do not leave money or camera in your room unless locked in your luggage. Carry your
passport with you at all times.
I would recommend that you get to a library and look up anything you can find on Turkey and
Tajikistan. The lonely planet company publishes Central Asia which covers Tajikistan. You will find
this book to be thorough and accurate. Ask the clerk to make sure you are buying the most recent
edition. Or, you can purchase these books from the Amazon.com web site. You can also find lots of
information about both countries in the various search engines on the Internet and CD-Rom reference
By registering at the U.S. Embassy you will facilitate replacement should anyone lose their passport.
Closer to our departure time I will be sending you information about how to register yourself on-line
with your respective Embassy in Turkey and Tajikistan. This will allow the Embassy to know that we
are in their country, our travel dates and where we will be staying. You will use information from this
manual to complete that on-line registration. Please wait for my instructions before doing so as there are
some special ways you should answer some of the questions.
A part of your trip fee covers the cost of a very comprehensive overseas health insurance for the time
you are out of the U.S. This includes emergency medical treatment, air evacuation and other
emergencies. This coverage is mandatory for all Habitat Global Village trips.
All complaints should go through the team leader first. If you have a problem with another team
member, someone on the work site, the accommodations or otherwise - tell me! I’m your facilitator and
as such I want to make this one of the most wonderful experiences of your life. I can’t help you if I
don’t know that you have a problem.
Team meetings are a vital part of this mission trip. They offer the chance to keep everyone informed of
the expectations for the next day, clear up problems at the work site or accommodations, get to know
each other better, “process” feelings and cultural experiences, and also a time for spiritual development.
Habitat is a Christian organization and as such there will be a time of reflection, inspiration and/or
meditation in our team meetings. I would like for those of you, who would like to, to come prepared
to lead a short time of reflection in one or more of our team meetings It is not mandatory for you to
attend the spiritual portion of the meetings if you so chose, but you will be expected to attend the rest of
the meeting and to attend all of the meetings unless you are ill.
During the time we are in Nurek, we will visit the museum created to tell the story of the dam. We will
arrange to take a tour of the hydro-electric dam – seeing the giant turbines in action. Weather permitting
we will also go to the top of the dam and take a boat out to a party pontoon for an afternoon of
relaxation on the water.
For our Rest and Relaxation at the end of the
official part of the trip, we will tour Dushanbe,
including a visit to the Habitat for Humanity
Tajikistan National Office and an ancient
fortress called Gizzar (shown at right) located
just outside the city. Another neat thing we
will do is visit a workshop for refugee women
from Afghanistan. They have a small shop
where they sell craft items which they have
made. For those of you remaining over in
Turkey for the optional side trip to tour Istanbul
and/or other parts of Turkey, that will become a
part of your R & R at your own expense.
Conclusion of the mission trip
On the night before we return to Dushanbe we will be holding a final team meeting for the purpose of
debriefing and filling out evaluation forms for Global Village. This time of “closure” is very valuable to
all team members and will offer us a chance to put into perspective all the incredible experiences which
have impacted us emotionally and spiritually as a result of this trip. I will also spend some time teaching
you about counter culture shock which happens to many people when they return to the US after
spending intense time in another country.
My Pledge to You
It is my joy and delight to facilitate Habitat short term mission trips. I find that people who are
interested in this type of trip are caring, thinking, sensitive and concerned. I am so blessed to be your
team leader. It is my desire is to help you have the most wonderful travel experience of your life, which
is greatly enhanced by the humanitarian work you do. I hope that when you finish this trip you will be
searching for ways to “do it again”. God bless each of you as you prepare for this trip!