Jett Thomason

A former Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan, Jett Thomason has worked in Afghanistan, Iraq and across Africa. He's traveled extensively in Latin America and the former Soviet Union.

Of Rice and Rams: A Boy’s Circumcision Ceremony in Uzbekistan

My alarm clock goes off at five. It’s been about four hours since I fell asleep. I’ve woken up to go to the early-morning festivities for a neighborhood circumcision ceremony which is locally and collectively referred to as one of several Uzbek “weddings”. I have been a Peace Corps Volunteer in a small provincial town in Uzbekistan for more than a year now. The people of my town are exceedingly friendly and known to be the most festive in the country. If there’s a wedding to go to, it will be a neighbor of mine pouring the vodka and cracking jokes for the table.

A Swim in Lake Tanganyika

I know I shouldn’t complain about business travel to Africa. It’s always a rewarding experience. But it’s also an exhausting one. For nearly three weeks I had been waking up at 6, cleaning out my work emails, and leaving the hotel by 7. We would be on the road all day seeing projects. With the sun long set, I would return to my hotel room, eat an overpriced and usually mediocre hotel meal, and crash. So when I suddenly found myself with a free afternoon in Burundi, I was thrilled.