.Four years after the fall of the Soviet Union, David Mould landed in Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, to establish a training center for local journalists. He found himself in a country going through wrenching economic, social, and political change. In the December snow, families spread blankets on the sidewalks, selling what they had to buy food and fuel. The experience made a deep impression. David returned to Kyrgyzstan the next year for a Fulbright Fellowship, and made frequent trips to the country and its northern neighbor Kazakhstan over the next 20 years for teaching, research, and consulting. For the five “stans”—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—shaking off the legacy of 75 years of Soviet rule has not been easy. The transition to a market economy has been difficult, and some people, especially in rural areas and small cities, feel worse off than in Soviet times.
David Mould, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University, has traveled widely in Asia and southern Africa. Born in the UK, he worked as a newspaper and TV journalist before moving to the US. His travel essays and articles have been published in Newsweek, Christian Science Monitor, Times Higher Education, and History News Network. His books include Monsoon Postcards: Indian Ocean Journeys (Ohio University Press, 2019) and Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia (Ohio University Press, 2016). Read David’s travel blogs on Facebook and at www.davidhmould.com.