Some More Fish in Water Stuff

To follow up the post about what it’s all like, here’s a bit more.

During the days I see a lot of people working their fields growing potatoes, tomatoes, onions, raspberries, strawberries, and something like chives that we eat a lot of.  I don’t think the gardens are big enough for much more than subsistence, so given the relative wealth of the community in Kengesh, I suspect most families are supported by members who commute to Bishkek for work or send remittances from abroad.

Gender roles are pretty traditional all over Kyrgyzstan so women spend most of their days preparing meals and men tending their livestock or fields.  Most families have a half dozen or so sheep, goats, and chickens.  Some of a cow or two.  Some have a horse or two.  There’s a few (always obnoxious) donkeys.

The meals consist of a lot of noodle and rice dishes with mixed meat and vegetables and always, always bread and tea.

People are really into their nan (bread) which they might make themselves or buy at the magazine.  They are usually round loaves with soft crusts.  It’s a huge cultural faux pas to set a loaf of bread upside-down for a reason that has to do with offending Mother Earth.  I’m not exactly sure, but I don’t it.

And the tea.  The tea is called chai, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s chai tea.  Again, for reasons I haven’t quite figured out yet, chai is black tea.  But in any case, the Kyrgyz drink several cups with every meal and along with any snack (usually more nan).  You could easily go quite a few days without drinking anything else.  Which is really just fine since it’s very tasty, especially with the several spoons of sugar that gets added to every cup.

People do have some down time with which they might watch TV.  Most homes have a television and from what I can tell there are about ten analog stations like you might get in the rural US.


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About Cole Bedford