Blog

Des Balcolm
The welcome reception and breakfast at Yesin.  The one thing was the women's prisoner of war camp at Akmol, which  highlighted how these people were repressed during the soviet years.  The other thing that was great was the presentation at Kostany and at Shortandy which is showing us they are fast tracking to sustainable farming practices.
Sue Balcolm
Generosity and friendship of the people so helpful. Family centred.  Even invited us to join in the wedding party at Borovoye lakes.  All electrical  railways, and the roads varied from impassable giant potholes to 4 lane highway near Astana (the capital).  The major building on the stepps in each town is the grain silo.
 George and Barbara Burdett
The people friendliness and the steppes were wonderful.
John Lawrie
Russian bath. I really enjoyed their porridge.  I am going to put raisins in mine from now on!  I want the next prime minister to come out to CANFA conference in October, like the Kazakhstan president did here.  The government here is so supportive of agriculture!
Julie Lawrie
Emphasis on education starting at pre school.  You pay but there are a lot of scholarships available. The schools were extremely high standard and well equipped and better than ones we have in Australia.  There were 20 computers and interactive whiteboards at one preschool we saw, for the4 year olds.  There is a revival in their Kazakhs traditions eg teaching traditional dancing at school. Different ethic groups but united together as Kazakhs.
Azamat (our translator and guide)
Thanks to the trip, learned new things about my country and great Australian people. And it is only the good things about my country, because we keep working in a right direction. Just look at the enthusiasm of local farmers. They are keen to learn new things, they understand they have a long way to go. I am pleased that people on farms do not give up their hopes and yet enjoy their lives. I got used to the company of Australians that I don't even want to say goodbye. All the jokes on microphone, dancing and sharing knowledge and observations. Another nice thing - a lot of new contacts, Australians and locals. Another chance to learn such a great and amazing about Australia. Makes me want to visit Australia enormously!!!!! Aussies, I love you!!!!!!!
Jim Dixon
Amazed how westernised this place is.
Jose Gosgrove
Empty land. Well off and comfortable.  We have not seen any poverty or begging.  Government is looking after the people.
Roy Lawrie
This is neither Europe nor Asia, this place has its own identity.  It is not densely populated and doesn't have the urban problems as other Asian and European cities.  Similar to Edmonton, Canada, in both people and landscape, all weather amusements, self contained.
Ro Dixon
I loved the automatic, self adjusting cow back scratcher brush.
Anne Nalder
The masses of spring and summer flowers everywhere.  The honey cake is worth bringing home!
Lisa Lawrie
I was blown away by the hunger for information about us and our part of the world.  They were very happy to share their life with us, being very comfortable about it.
Ray Williams
Total diversity of design of cultural city buildings.  Black soil plains with no fences for ever.  Soil we would love to have at home.  Everyone was eager to learn from us and to equally share what they do with us.
Barbara McKay
Flat countryside, patches of planted trees and huge soviet built silos.
Louise Packer
The lovely warm welcoming nature of the people.  The wide open treeless plains.  The huge differences between the quality of the main roads to the secondary roads and the lucky dip in the quality of the bathrooms.
Phil Gosgrove
The wide open spaces, and they are not as poor as I thought they would have been.  They have the potential to produce a lot of different grains for the world market.
Robert Goodear
Fantastic place, beautiful soil, hospitality of the people is incredible. The education system here is very good, different quality of schools and I have met two teachers who left their families back home in Wales an New Zealand and are being paid more money and getting a lot from them.  Very glad I have come on the trip.
Maree Goodear
Really it was just the hospitality and friendliness of the people.  The Steppes and open vastness of the countryside.
Faye Knowles
Great potential farming wise , great food, great people, enjoying the music and dancing.
Peter Knowles
Like Faye this place has great farming potential!  I like the fact that they don't mow the grass and it should be a practice that we should take home with us.
Jim Mackay
So impressed with the quality of the work in agriculture by the universities and the government is very supportive. The quality and huge area of the good soils. But I miss the trees as I am used to more trees.  Also noticed the difference in the opulence in Astana and the lack do it in other cities.
Ian Packer
I was a bit surprised that they don't use GPS technology and their lack of knowledge of what they need in machinery.  They desperately need good agronomists.  Would love to know what impact  farming has on soil health and organic matter.
Anne Williams
I am blown away by a country that is predominately Moslem but is so tolerant of different beliefs.  Of all the countries in the world that we have visited, this stands out as pointer for the future of humanity, living together in peace and tolerance.  A low populated land with great potential. Well done Kazakhstan!  
Robyn Burke
The fact that there is this a Moslem country I am amazed at what is here, I am surprised they seem to have such much pride and are very friendly and they have such a great future!

We are having such a wonderful, educating, entertaining and thought promoting trip.  From your intrepid reporter Anne.