February 3rd, 2007
Posted By:
Categories: Giving Back


As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, many times adoptive families want to give back to their children’s birth countries. During my blogging research, I stumbled along another blog that a young man who is serving in the Peace Corps in Taraz, Kazakhstan wrote. He is trying to build a library in Taraz with English books – I hope you’ll take a moment to read about this and send a book or two their way. Below are some answers to questions another adoptive family asked. :)

(shared with permission)
Thank you so much for getting in touch with me. It is always nice to talk to another American that has spent time in Taraz. Work here in Taraz is going well and I would truly value any help that you might be able to give me with our library project. I will try and answer your questions one by one in order to make the answer more clear.


1. Of course we will be happy to accept used books. New books are usually prohibitively expensive. Most of the current books we have in our library are used books donated by other Peace Corps volunteers or their friends. Any and all books would be helpful including children’s books as long as they are in English. I would only ask not to receive books in poor condition (missing covers, pages torn out, excessive writing inside) as they would most likely not be received well by the students that are the primary users of the library.
2. Unfortunately at the moment, I am unaware of any type of online bookstore that exists here in Kazakhstan. I also highly doubt that Amazon operates here as internet costs for the average consumer are usually prohibitively expensive.
3. At the moment I have received three packages from my family and none of them had gift marked on any of them. I was able to pickup the packages just fine. The customs laws here are not strongly defined, but maybe it would be a good idea to instruct people to write “gift” just in case.
4. Yes I have heard of M-bags and currently have two of them on the way to Taraz from a donor organization. Unfortunately they are slow, and will not arrive for 2-6 months so I can not tell you that I have actually received them. I do know other Peace Corps volunteers have used them without problem in the past.
5. As to if the Post system is reliable, it is a loaded question. I have had good luck myself with the post office but other volunteers in the past have had packages lost, maybe stolen. A rule of thumb is not to send anything expensive that would catch someone’s eye like money, electronics, or jewelry. I highly doubt books would be high theft targets as they are generally bulky and hold no real dollar value here. I have tried to answer this question as best I can. I hope you understand the situation.

Any and all help you could provide would be most appreciated. I have enclosed my address in both English and in the native Russian. Thank you so much for your time and effort. I know the knowledge hungry students of Taraz will thank you for your efforts.

Justin Spry Baltz
NGO mobile consultant
U.S. Peace Corps volunteer
Taraz , Kazakhstan

Address to send books to:
Justin Spry Baltz
Peace Corps volunteer
P.O. Box 25
Taraz, Zhambyl

Джастин Спрай Балтз
Корпус Мира
А/Я 25
Тараз, Жамбыл

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