In a few weeks time I will be taking a group of ten descendants of Thomas and Lucy Atkinson to eastern Kazakhstan. Our intention is to visit the exact spot where, in 1848, Lucy Atkinson gave birth to a son from whom all ten relatives are descended. She and Thomas decided to name the child Alatau Tamchiboulac Atkinson after the place he was born. Alatau was the name of the mountain range that stands behind the small town of Kapal and Tamchiboulac was the sacred spring next to the exact spot where he was born.
A total of ten relatives will be making the journey – three from Hawaii, one from Florida, one from New Zealand and five from England – where they will all be guests of the Kazakh government. None of them have ever visited Kazakhstan before and it promises to be a momentous occasion. We will be flying – courtesy of Air Astana – to the capital city of Astana where we are scheduled to meet the prime minister, ambassadors and other dignatories. A few days later we will fly on to Almaty in the south of the country before heading east to the Semirechiye/Zhetysu region where the town of Kapal is located. After unveiling a memorial to Alatau’s birth, we will head into the mountains to see some of the places that Thomas and Lucy wrote about in their books.
Already the trip is making headlines. You can read about it here, in the Hawaiian press, and also here in The Diplomat, a prestigious international publication. I will try to post regularly during the trip, depending on internet access.