Peace Сorps’ Dream Team to Compete at the 1st World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan

Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, September 9, 2014 – A team of five Peace Corps Volunteers,  currently serving in the Kyrgyz Republic, are competing at the 1st World Nomad Games currently taking place on the northern shore of the beautiful alpine lake of Issyk-Kul.

Peace Corps Kyrgyz Republic’s Team represents the United States and includes Maryn Lewallen, Edward Yoo, David Ramras, Gus Hulin, and Sean Heyneman and Peace Corps.  They join more than 350 athletes competing from countries, including Azerbaijan, Austria, Afghanistan, Belarus, Brazil, Germany, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mongolia Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Sweden, South Korea, Russia, Hungary and South Africa.

The Peace Corps Team reflects the scope of programs in the Kyrgyz Republic. Maryn and Edward work in the Health Education program, Gus and David work with the Sustainable Community Development program, and Sean is an English Teacher.  By participating in the 1st World Nomad Games, each of these Peace Corps Volunteers has found a unique way to work towards Peace Corps’ Third Goal, learning and sharing Kyrgyz Culture with their communities in the United States. The team will compete exclusively in Kyrgyz language, demonstrating not only their commitment to learning Kyrgyz culture and language, but also their capacity to work as partners in their communities.

This unique opportunity showcases Peace Corps Volunteers commitment to and partnership with the people and communities of the Kyrgyz Republic.  Peace Corps Kyrgyz Republic Country Director Tammie Harris also participated in the Opening Ceremony of  the “Toguz Korool” Tournament, and was instrumental in supporting our team at the competition.

The 1st World Nomad Games aims to promote regional integration, friendship and cooperation by promoting commonality of the nomadic culture of the peoples of the world. The Games include competitions like “Kok Boru,” a version of polo played with a goat carcass popular in Central Asia; various wrestling competitions such as “Kyrgyz Quresh,” “Alysh,” and “Oodarysh;” several horse racing events such as “At-chabysh,”  “Jorgo-salysh,” “Kunain chabysh;” and the Kyrgyz traditional game of chasing girls on horseback, “Kiz-Kuumai.” The Peace Corps team will be competing in the “Toguz Korgool” tournament, a Kyrgyz game similar to checkers.

The 1st World Nomad Games will continue throughout the week, culminating in final competitions on Saturday and Sunday, September 13th and 14th, 2014. Competition winners will be eligible for prize money, which, if the Peace Corps Team wins, will be contributed to projects in their communities. More information about the 1st World Nomad Games is available on their website