“You can take the idiot out of the village but you can’t take the village out of the idiot” or as this saying applies to me currently “You can take me out of PR but you can’t take PR out of me”.
I’ve been on maternity leave for about 10 days now and that was plenty of time for me to get myself involved in a massive project – an e-newsletter for the Russian Community in Oman. There are over 200 Russian and Russian speaking people here in Oman and yet there isn’t a single blog, Facebook page or website that successfully unites all these people and allows them to communicate with each other. Sure, a lot of them know each other already but plenty of new people arrive all the time!
Also I saw a demand in forming a communication path that would allow these people to ask questions, advertise businesses, publish vacancies, look for baby sitters, exchange books and DVDs- in their own language! In other countries, this initiative is typically carried out by the embassy, most even go as far as to host a “club” or hold meetings to encourage communications between the community members. Unfortunately the Russian Embassy in Oman has not taken on any similar challenges yet (at least not without strong encouragement of volunteers) but maybe such projects will encourage them in the future.
The e-newsletter is of a very basic Word format at the moment and it gets sent out to a database of the Russian Community which I have independently put together overtime. Once a week the 3-4 page document containing the latest news relevant to the community gets sent to those on the database. I am hoping the number of contacts I have will grow overtime especially now that people have begun to email me asking to be added to the list of receivers.
Generally the feedback I have received has been very positive, a lot of people are saying its a very good idea and are inspiring me to continue with it. In time I am hoping I will not be the only one involved in this, I encourage active participation not just in the form of submitting advertisements and news but in writing articles or organizing events that the whole community can participate in.
If you wish to receive this newsletter (in Russian!) please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly add you to the address book, likewise if you are selling/advertising/looking for a job/have a vacancy/require a translator/selling your car, please also e-mail me and I will add your news to the newsletter!
Wish me luck!