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EVERYDAY IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN

By Edmund Kagire

When I got an invitation to attend the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan the week running October 21 to 27, 2018, I was a bit hesitant to accept it but then I said what the hell, let me just take it on. After all I am the adventurous type.

I set off on October 21 to what turned out to be a whirlwind week of new experiences, exposure and new human connections. The journey was smooth, taking Rwandair from Kigali to Dubai & then Air Astana from Dubai to Astana. I had never heard of the airline. It is a very pleasant airline with good service -one of the best in EuraAsia, if not the best. It boast of over 30 aircraft in its fleet and operates in at least 64 destinations.

Interesting. In Kinyarwanda they say “Akanyoni katagurutse ntikamenya iyo bweze”, literally meaning that a bird that never flies will never know where the millet harvest is. I had been told that racism is rife in Russia and all Slavic countries formerly linked to the Soviet Union. I expected to be ‘unwelcome’ but it was not the case in Kazakhstan. Kazakhs are very hospitable people and will do anything to help you even though you might struggle to communicate if you don’t speak Kazakh or Russian. Right from the airport to the conference centre and malls, they would go out of their way to make sure that all is well. Occasionally, they will talk amongst themselves and laugh but it all seemed in good faith (I didn’t read much into it) and in line with helping you to get what you wanted. Kazakhstan is a very organised country. The discipline and time keeping is impressive.

The Palace of Independence where the meeting was held is a beautiful piece of architecture and hosts thousands of people. The organisation was top notch. The Astana Opera House experience was out of this world. The opera house, which was right opposite my hotel, was breathtaking. It is said to be the 3rd biggest opera house in the world in terms of capacity. I haven’t seen anything well built as that architectural marvel. The performances were overwhelming. Astana is a young city. It turned 20 recently in June but it looks more established than most cities that are over a century old. The architecture in Astana is unbelievable, almost science fiction stuff. I am working on a travel piece for The East African, you will read more details there.

All in all, I just wanted to say that everyday presents us an opportunity to learn and be more informed on what the world has to offer. My perception of Kazakhstan has forever changed for the better. The more we learn, the better we become as human beings. We just have to be open minded

Views expressed in this blog are 100% an experience of the traveller or writter not of Travel With Darius TV Blog

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