Friday, September 3, 2010

Floating in a Most Peculiar Way

Strange to think that, when last I updated this blog, in this country there'd been only one violent overthrow of the ruling government and hardly any ethnic genocides at all. But those were simpler times. For legal reasons, let's move on.

Obviously I didn't get my hoped-for post in Osh or J-bad, but that's for the best; if I had, I'd probably be in America right now with the rest of the evacuated volunteers. In all, about 20 of the 70 volunteers in my class have now left country - some because of where they were placed, some because they felt unsafe in country, some for reasons I never quite understood. I live in a village called Nurmanbet (Krasniy Vostok if you're trying to get a taxi there), about an hour southeast of Bishkek. It's hard to say how many people live here, but I'd guess a few thousand. Electricity is sporadic, and the water's off far more often than it's on. Last week I had to buy bottles of the carbonated stuff just to be able to cook. I'm far enough from both the main road and the mountains that getting to either is kind of a pain. If there are any banyas around they're very well hidden, so I go to the Peace Corps office about once a week to take a shower. I divide my free time (which is to say all of it) between books, movies, food, soccer, yoga, my precious SNES emulator, and sleep. Lots of sleep. School just started, but with the way things have been going so far it'll be at least a month before I'm actually doing substantive work of any kind. Yesterday I showed up at 9, sat around for 15 minutes, and was told that the kids would be cleaning the school grounds, and I should go home. I live with a host family, but will be moving out on the 15th into an apartment by myself.

Because I know you're on tenterhooks about my friends: Jia lives to the west in the oblast of Talas, Kyle lives in Chui nearest me, Lola and Akash are out east on the lake in Issyk-Kul.

See why updates are few and far between? Mostly I just continue to exist, which doesn't seem particularly blog-worthy. What perhaps I'll do now, dear readers, is a series of small essays on different aspects of Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyz life: food, culture, gender, transportation, etc. Yes. I'll do that.

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