Hello all, and may I send many extremely hot and sweatily warm wishes from Osh City, the Southern Capital of Kyrgyzstan!!! It is hot in that way that you might cook if you leave yourself out in the sun for too long. But you want to lie naked in a pool of water, which would have to be outside, and then hopefully not in the sun so you don’t cook, like I already mentioned. What a vicious cycle. Osh City is home of the only UNESCO heritage site in Kyrgyzstan, Sulaiman Too Sacred Mountain and is where I am living in Kyrgyzstan for 18 months.
So as I sit here trying to keep myself hydrated, I’m going to let you all know about the amazing home I have moved into here in Osh City, my to be home for the next two years. I started off my Osh experience in another home, and moved to this one over a week ago. And I absolutely love it!
Living in Osh Kyrgyzstan
But as they say, family is what makes a house a home, so lets start with my latest Kyrgyz family. My Apa is Dilbar, she runs an NGO that promotes peace and cooperation between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek ethnic groups. Ethnic tension has been a major issue in Osh City, culminating in a crisis in 2010 with riots and deaths. Since then, Osh City has healed in some ways, but divisions are still present and there is still progress to be made. Enter, my Apa! She’s amazing, so friendly, happy, hard working, and a very positive person to see when I get home.
My Ata’s name is Bazarbei, and he works for customs. It being summer, he has been on vacation since I moved in, but he doesn’t sit around, he appears to be the hardest working person in Kyrgyzstan. Today he started working on tiling the front steps of the house. Because what else would you want to do in 40celsius?? He keeps an amazing garden, and he is the first man that I have heard of in Kyrgyzstan who cooks real food for his family on a regular basis. And it’s tasty! Maybe I’m just meant to live in houses where the men do the cooking, Kevin Kydd always supplied our table with ample slabs of meat and veggies, here Bazarbei does the same! I’m good with it!
Bazarbei and Dilbar have four offspring, the two eldest live in Bishkek studying, though I have met Suban, he put together my wardrobe and has ok english. Aneesa is in Bishkek, was a FLEX student which means she spent a year in the States and has amazing english now, and is going to Norway in August to study for a year. Sounds like a wicked chick, I hope to meet her before she leaves for Viking land.
Living in the house are the littles. Eldos is 14, is working on his english and it’s really coming along for someone so young. He’s also teaching himself guitar off of youtube, so to say he’s smart is an understatement. When he found out I was from Vancouver he said “I read an article saying that Vancouver is the most liveable city in the world. Is that true? What do you think?” Ummm…yes.
Akmaral is 8 and a total fire cracker, she loves to sing and dance and generally entertain the troops. A few days ago she put on the most adorable ‘concert., and each of us were given tickets, and we sat in specific seats and she did a very funny shadow interpretive dance’esque number. Then we played musical chairs. She nags me when I pet the cat, saying I have to go and wash my hands. Excellent health education on hand washing as obviously been done in her class. She probably won’t get Hep A this year!
In addition to the humans, we have a cat Geeta and a dog BillyClik. Apparently the dog is named after the dog in a Jack London novel. A reference I do not get, I have not read any London, so instantly thought, was that the guy who wrote White Fang? I still don’t know. Billy is a calm, old, very sweet German Shepard type who never barks at me or really anybody. Geeta, who may be pregnant I’m not sure that’s what Akmaral says but Akmaral is 8, so who really knows, follows me around and meows as if she is hungry. Which is impossible, as they both eat substantially. There is another dog that hangs around a bit too, not ours. He’s a bit nutsy, and really high strung, I steer clearish of him. May have my rabies shots, but still don’t want to chance it!
To give an even better idea of where I’m living and who I am living with, video of Kyrgyz Cribs: Osh City edition!
Living in Osh City is totally different than what I expected my life in the [intlink id=”1044″ type=”post”]Peace Corps[/intlink] to be. Obviously I am not in a yurt, or even a village, and my house is a very Western Style home. We do have an outhouse for the summer, but come winter the plumbing inside works better and we can use the inside bathroom, which bodes well for me and my midnight outhouse stumbles. The house is on the side of a hill, so its a bit of a trek to get to it from the marshrutka, especially mid day, but when you get there the breeze is wonderful. The second floor has a great view looking out at the hills behind Osh City, as well as the flower garden, and the neighbors yard. Not invasive at all…
Life in Osh Kyrgyzstan
I live in the South of the city, and it takes me about 5 minutes to walk to the [intlink id=”1033″ type=”post”]marshrutka[/intlink] and then about 15-20 minutes to ride to work/downtown core area. There is an ancient dirt running track just down the hill from my house, as well as trails along the river, so I can run there, and normally only have to dodge a lonely cow or sheep. The last couple of days there has been a cow tied up in the infield of the field, getting sprayed with the water of the sprinklers. The existence of both cow and watering system seems counterproductive to me, whatever!
They are also building a new campus of the Osh state university just down from my house, the Medical wing, so soon enough I will have med students competing for track space. They’ll have to move both me and the cow! There are also a few shops within walking distance, as well as an outdoor swimming pool, an indoor pool and an ice rink! The outdoor pool I have taken advantage of, the indoor not yet, and the ice isn’t down right now, probably something to do with the cost of keeping it from melting when the weather is hot as Hades. In the winter I’m sure I will go and dazzle everybody with my ability to skate but not stop.
So here are the pictures of my home in Osh City, my family and the views you can see. I’m really glad I ended up in this house and with this family. I think that the life of a PC volunteer depends greatly on their living situations, and in KG we all live with families, so that family is make or break for our happiness.