Kyrgyzstan’s Women- The Kyrgyz Superhero

In Kyrgyzstan, there is a creature, nay a being, that is more powerful and farther reaching than any other. This being can be found in any place you look, they are not unique, and they are not hidden. Alas, they are what you see when you walk down the street. They are on marshutkas, they are in bazaars, they are sitting outside the public toilets taking your 5som coins. They are everywhere. They are anywhere. Who is this mystical beast? They are… the Kyrgyz Eje. The Kyrgyz women who hold power, and powers. 

Kyrgyz women Women of Kyrgyzstan

Who is the Kyrgyz Woman?

A Kyrgyz eje is a Kyrgyz woman over a ‘certain age’. The age is not precise, as it’s more of a state of being than an actual date on the calendar. The typical Kyrgyz eje, especially in the south, is a heavy set woman, wearing a velvet dress of some kind, patterned socks, slip on shoes (generally known as eje shoes, normally with heel), and a scarf around her head, sometimes tied right up to the chin. There will be animal print somewhere on her wardrobe du jour. She will have gold jewelry on. At least one of her teeth will also be gold. She may have a full gold grill.

Law and Order from Kyrgyz Women

Kyrgyz ejes have super powers. An eje can use these powers for good or evil, and can decide when and where to evoke these powers.Kyrgyz eje power is real, and everybody in Kyrgyzstan just needs to accept it. Typically, most plebians experience eje power on marshutkas (learn what a [intlink id=”1033″ type=”post”]marshrutka[/intlink] is), when said plebian is sitting innocently in a seat that an eje sets her sights on. Eje power, and law, dictates that that seat is hers. And it will be.

Kyrgyz women, Kyrgyzstan culture
They get the front seats…

Kyrgyz Culture Controlling the Youths

Ejes are crucial to Kyrgyz culture and rule of law in keeping jegeets in line. Just today, a report came from Osh City of an arrogant jegeet, while talking on his mobile device, trying to get onto a marshutka before an eje. This Kyrgyz eje, who was obviously an apt pupil in the art of eje power, grabbed the jegeets shoulder, and ruthlessly tossed him backwards, while saying something assumed to be in the realm of “You get yo’ass to the back a the line and respect yo’ G.D. elders boy!” Said jegeet was the last person to board the marshutka. Kyrgyz eje power!

Another Kyrgyz woman superpower is to be cold even on the hottest of days, yet to appear to stay warm in the winter, despite intolerably low temperatures. Furthermore, and even more incredible, observations show that ejes wear approximately the same amount of clothing regardless of the temperature (estimation allows for +/-1 article of leopard print clothing). The super power of personalized physiological heating and cooling systems far exceeding those of the rest of the world population requires more laboratory research, but is undeniable. And uncontainable.

The older Kyrgyz women not only demand respect, but are observed to hold and use superpowers beyond belief. Who rules the world? The Eje!

The Kyrgyz Woman- A Thermal Anomaly?

A factor contributing to the perfect body temperature of ejes could be their secondary superpower of expanding their bubble of temperature control to the rest of the occupants of a given space, and even that space itself. Marshutkas are excellent petrie dishes for this data collection. Begin in a marshutka with an open window in mid-July. Enter the Kyrgyz eje. That window will be closed in less than two seconds. Three seconds if she has to take the time to remove someone from HER seat. Eje will be comfortable. You will not be. You do not have eje power.

Kyrgyz eje power also extends to a physical athleticism that far surpasses what they should be capable of, given their age and footwear. Data shows that ejes can climb mountains, in the heat of the summer, in full velvet, wearing eje shoes, while drinking Kumus, and not die. This data proved incredible to researchers, all an average of 40 years younger than said ejes, who were wearing proper hiking attire and boots, hydrated with appropriate amounts of water, and THEY almost did not make it to the top. Ejes, in their eje shoes, are sure footed and well suited to steep inclines with lack of solid ground beneath them. Ejes thrive in harsh elements.

Kyrgyz women Kyrgyztan culture Kyrgyzstan women

Kyrgyzstan’s Women- The Jedis of Central Asia Cuisine

With certain foodstuffs, ejes can make anything. Give a Kyrgyz eje a dead sheep, some flour, salt and oil you’ll be eating four dishes three hours later. And you won’t stop eating for five hours. Which leads to yet another eje superpower: mind control. George Lucas based the Jedi mind tricks made famous by Sir Obi-Wan on the talents of Kyrgyz ejes making the people at their table eat. And eat. And drink tea. And more tea. So much tea. A circulating hypothesis is that tea is the light sabre of the Kyrgyz eje.

Kyrgyz Culture- Control of the Eje

Voltaire, FDR and Spider Man’s uncle all said “With great power, comes great responsibility”. The Kyrgyz eje knows this, especially when they act as renegade law enforcement. Many a lost or troubled traveler has found solace in the arms of an eje. Official guidance given to Peace Corps Volunteers in case of harassment on a marshutka or in the street is to find a Kyrgyz eje. Ejes will put an end to that nonsense, full stop. If you find yourself lost, and after laughing at your pitiful Kyrgyz, your friendly Kyrgyz eje will make sure you get to where you need to be, though if she is leading you, she may lead you through the bazaar on her errands first. And you will carry those shopping bags, because that is eje power. You want the ejes on your side.

Kyrgyzstan women, Kyrgyzstan culture, kyrgyz traditions

Sometimes ejes can be scary. Especially if you are doing something wrong. More often than not, a lowly white girl can get out of eje crosshairs by smiling, mumbling something incoherent in what could be considered Kyrgyz, and getting out of the way. Sometimes, ejes are annoyed by your sheer presence in their vicinity, and there is nothing you can do except not exist. Though not speaking or moving does help.

In Kyrgyzstan, the eje holds the reins, both in their family and in their community. At any community event, there will be a line of chairs, normally with a table in front of them (for the eje purses), designated to the ejes who care to sit there. Ejes are often at the head of any table, in the honorable seat, are served first, and are served often.

Kyrgyz women in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asian culture

Personally, I have met many of Kyrgyzstan’s wonderful women: they know a lot, they know everybody, and can get ‘er done. They are a force in and of themselves. While in Kyrgyzstan, I must always remember, that ejes can, and do, control me all with the glint of a gold tooth.


Kyrgyz women, Kyrgyzstan culture, Kyrgyzstan tradition

Interested in more Kyrgyz culture? I lived in Kyrgyzstan for 18 months, so check out the rest of my travel blogs about this unique [intlink id=”50″ type=”category”]Central Asian nation[/intlink].


Originally published November 2014- The content of this blog is purely my own. The opinions and views expressed here do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps….Though it would be funny if the US Government did have a position on the Kyrgyz eje phenomenon…

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