In addition to all of the work we’re starting around sustainable farming, we have a smaller project to help revive the beautiful botanical garden in Almaty. It is more than 100 hectares and could be a jewel of the city. At the moment, it is kind of run down and not very accessible.
Today we convened the first meeting of a project advisory board. I have to say, it was loads of fun. I think we have good representation from all of the important stakeholders and there was a lively mix of people.
I also learned some new things about Kazakh manners. Tea always served when people get together and it is never served alone. At minimum there is a little bowl of candy and sometimes cookies or crackers. But today, I was told that if you are hosting someone from a higher rank or a special guest, you go all out with the tea snacks. This must have been an important group of people because check out the cakes that were on the table
There are all kinds of protocols for respect and authority. Even though we had important guests, there is no doubt that Gulnara (Director of the Institute of Botany) was running the show. You can see that she is in charge because of her special-fancy tea cup distinguishing her from the rest of us.