>Sernavodskaya Water / Boys Military School

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This week has been really busy. On Tuesday I went to Sernavodskaya ( 70 KM west of Grozny ) to film. I love getting out of the city.

Sernavodskaya Water company is there. Their mineral water is #2 in the world. In this photo I am with the director of the company and Yusup the cameraman. We are at a hot water spring. It smells like boiled eggs and actually tastes the same. However, this isn’t the water they bottle – it is used for medicinal purposes.

Alihan, the director of the company, is explaining all the details of the water and the way it is processed.

Today Artur is with me because Madina is home with her kids. They are sick.
And Yusup is the cameraman.
They also have a spa here!!! Artur and I are getting a massage in these awesome chairs.
Back to work. We need to get an interview with Alihan.
On Thursday I went to a military school for boys. They are AWESOME! They win every competition they enter.
Ibbi was with me on this day – Madina’s kids are still sick.
Thank god I wore these colours – they match the uniforms!
Ibrashka was the cameraman. We all love him!! He does such a great job every time!!
We ended up having a lovzar party!!! Hahah -I love Chechnya. Spontaneous lovzar parties happen often.

>Presidential Sinkeram, Tamara Dadasheva and PONDAR (Дечиг пондар )

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Monday March 8th was Women’s Day. The President threw a cool sinkeram party – and I went. It was my first sinkeram party and everyone had to wear national dress. I was so nervous. They wanted me to sit in the front row – but of course I didn’t. I asked to sit on the back bench – I was so nervous – I thought I would have to dance. I was asked a couple times but I said no. I thought I would make a fool of myself. I don’t know how to dance with a guy – I can dance alone, but when there is a man dancing next to me I get too nervous and forget what I am supposed to do – hence, I am making a cultural program about it because I MUST know how to dance at a party.
I am watching it on Grozny TV . I love the way the mayor of Gudermes was dancing. He has an interesting personality. 

I was completely confused of the process at these types of parties. There is a mediator that will go to a man and he will tell her to ask a girl to dance or he will tell her to tell a girl he likes her and to look at him. Apparently, these parties are where a lot of couples meet and get married. I was confused when one woman kept coming over to me and saying that a guy liked me and wanted me to look at him. I was like…ok…and…..what is your point? Hahahahah. I had no clue what was going on. It felt extremely strange to me – culture shock big time. Only the next day did I find out some of what the process is.

This is my colleauge from the TV station. She was in national dress but she changed to normal clothes when the party was over.
On the right is Amina – she is also a colleauge from the Ministry of Press and Information, External Affairs and Policy – she’s Kazbek’s assistant. 

More friends from Grozny TV.

All of us are from the Ministry of Press and Info….

This party was fabulous! The best part about it was when Sahab Mejiedov was playing the dechig pondar.
The dechig ponder is the national instrument of Chechnya – it is gorgeous. I fell in love with it at this party. I HAD to meet Sahab ( he is the best pondar player here and an “Artist of the Chechen Republic”
Artur from the TV station sent me his number and Madina and I went to meet him today! My cameraman was Ruslan ( I decided to make an episode of my show on the pondar. I am going to learn how to play it. Sahab also ordered me one from Gudermes today and I am going to pick it up tomorrow!!!!!!!!
Sahab is teaching me a song and Ruslan the cameraman is writing it in tablature !
He also told me I needed to cut my nails off – so I did. I am so excited to play this instrument.
Me and Sahab with pondars!!
And… I had to meet Tamara Dadasheva today because she is QUEEN OF LOVZAR / SINKERAM MUSIC!!!
Me and Tamara Dadasheva
Ruslan and Tamara Dadasheva
Tomorrow I will go to the Ministry of Culture and meet Sahab and pick up my very own pondar!! I am also meeting Sahab’s son Ashab who is a famous dancer. He is going to teach me all about dancing !!!!!

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