Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Another Wampler Post

Damian Wampler has another post from Kyrgyzstan, this time on ethnicity and language where he lives in the middle of nowhere:
"Now I’m living in Shagm. It is a ‘real’ ‘Kyrygz’ village. It is so far off the beaten path that people in Osh have never heard of it. It is 10 km up the mountains from Korshab, a tiny town near the elbow of the earth. To get cell phone service I have to climbs a small hill and hang out with the sheep and donkeys for a little while. To take a bath I have to go back to Osh. Same goes if I want to use a real toilet, although I’m a fan of the outhouse. Go Peace Corps. I’m spending a month here in Shagm living with a family and getting the real ‘Kyrgyz’ experience. My host mother is actually the village matriarch. She is 83 years old, the oldest woman in the village, and she calls the shots around here. She has 40 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. And she speaks Kyrgyz, some Russian, German, Arabic and any English I teach her. No and Go are her two favorite words in English. She prays 5 times a day, and knows a lot of prayers. In this town, when you throw a toi, you invite everyone. And their brother. It starts at 8am and goes all night. You feed the whole town, kill lots of sheep, and give away tons of food. There are literally mountains of food. If a real poor person came from Africa or India, they would swear that the Kyrgyz are the richest people on earth. Piles of bread, piles of meat. Huge pots (called Kazans, they look like woks, but bigger) of soup and rice, pots so big you could swim in it. Can you imagine cooking for 1000 people? And the houses aren’t big enough, so you borrow your neighbors houses so everyone can sit. People come in shifts.


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