Welcome to Shymkent!

Every year, the Salem Social Village staff, their families, volunteers, people from the World Without Limits social club for people with disabilities, partners, guests and good friends gather with a giant steaming pan of plov in order to celebrate the arrival of Spring.

The grass was fresh and green, and the sun was shining (well, almost). The children were laughing and dancing. There was joy, friendship, dancing. Young guys and girls were hanging out. There were traditional songs and games. Yes, you’ve guessed – it was the long-awaited festival of Nauryz, or Kazakh New Year, in Shymkent!

Not only did we have the usual fun, food and games, but this year we added a new competitive element: a bauersak contest. This traditional and popular snack is essentially deep-fried donuts without all the sugar – very Kazakh and very good! We invited all our students on English courses with us to enter, and had ten very high quality and creative bauersak presentations.

Each one was judged on overall presentation, English usage in the presentation, and of course taste. Every entrant won a Salem Social Village mug, with the winner bagging a 50% discount on a course of English classes with us – well worth the effort! But once the results were announced, what should be done with ten tables full of bauersak? Eat them, of course, and so they did – the entire competition was scoffed in about ten minutes by all those present, who also agreed it was an excellent idea!