News>Americans connect in Kyrgyzstan for the holidays
Traveling to Bishkek for a Christmas Eve dinner, service members stationed at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, drive by a monument marking the edge of the city, Dec. 24, 2011. U.S. Embassy partners volunteered to open their homes to the service members, providing traditional Christmas meals and holiday cheer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Tracy L. DeMarco)
With their house adorned with decorations from around the world, Peggy Braun, assistant for the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy, and her husband Travius, host seven service members from the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, for a Christmas Eve dinner, Dec. 24, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Tracy L. DeMarco)
Travius Braun laughs with U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Griffin during a Christmas Eve dinner party at the Braun's house in downtown Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dec. 24, 2011. Braun's wife, Peggy, works at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek and the couple hosted seven service members from the Transit Center at Manas, including Griffin who is deployed from Camp Lejeune N.C., and hails from Nahant, Mass. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Tracy L. DeMarco)
To celebrate Christmas Eve, Peggy Braun (center of photo) and her husband opened their home in downtown Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to seven service members stationed at the Transit Center at Manas, Dec. 24, 2011. Braun works at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Tracy L. DeMarco)
Airman 1st Class Saiquan Canty, 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, carves a turkey at the home of Peggy and Travius Braun, U.S. Embassy partners in Kyrgyzstan, Dec. 24, 2011. Canty, deployed from Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., is one of seven service members from the Transit Center at Manas that was privileged to experience Christmas dinner with the Braun family who volunteered to host the service members.(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Angela Ruiz)
by Senior Airman Lynsie Nichols
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
12/27/2011 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- The holiday season can be hard for deployed military members due to the fact they're away from family; but for seven members deployed here, the season was a little brighter.
Peggy and Travius Braun opened their home in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to the Transit Center residents for a special holiday meal Dec. 24.
"I felt like I was at home," said Staff Sgt. Edelyn Avellanosa, 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron deployment equipment NCO in charge. "Even though they weren't my family, they made me feel like I was in their family."
Avellanosa's home station is Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
Airman 1st Class Saiquan Canty, also assigned to the 376th ELRS and deployed from Cannon, agreed with Avellanosa adding, "Dinner was my favorite part. I learned a lot from the people who opened up their home to us."
The Brauns spent more than eight hours preparing the feast for their guests, making everything from scratch.
"I couldn't have done this without Travius, he's my rock," Peggy said. "He helped me set everything up; he is always willing to help."
Peggy works at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek and her husband has traveled with her to many locations.
Although Avellanosa and Canty have had the opportunity to leave the Transit Center and experience Kyrgyz culture before, this was the first time either of them have been able to experience the hospitality from a family residing in the country.
"I was amazed at the kindness of this family," Canty said. "They went out of their way to make us feel comfortable."