After picking me up in Beisheke, Bagyshaly ran a few errands in Kirovka and then drove us to his home in Kara Buura. We drove into the yard and parked next to a couple of guys napping under a tree. The three of them chatted for a few minutes before one of them turned and started coming at me with some really fluent English.
He asked me about my background as an engineer and we talked about water resource management in Central Asia; the lack of integrated management in the post-soviet era, the deterioration of infrastructure, and disagreements over transboundary waters.
While I was most definitely confused by what was happening – I mean, who was this guy? – I was enjoying it way too much to interrupt the conversation for something as trivial as introductions.
Eventually, I learned that this was Bagyshaly’s brother-in-law who was home visiting from Prague where he has been working and raising his family for almost fifteen years.
We went into the house for a really great meal. It’s melon season and they’re delicious, there was apple compote (juice), freshly baked bread, tea and kymyz, and tomato and cucumber salad. On top of how good all the food, four – FOUR – members of the family spoke English either fluently or pretty close to it. We talked about American politics, Kyrgyz food, travelling, and all kinds of other things. I was honestly a little overwhelmed with it all, but at the same time I was really enjoying myself.
Among all the amazing things about being here, the generosity and hospitality of the Kyrgyz toward guests is one of the best and the way Bagyshaly’s family welcomed me and made me feel comfortable really exemplified it. While I don’t always feel like I deserve such consideration, it sure is nice.
After dinner we went for a swim in the creek, had another snack, took a bit of a nap, and when the temperature finally cooled off around 7:00 we took off for the nearby hills where Bagyshaly is planning to tap several springs to supplement the drinking water in Kara Buura.
We finally got back to the house around 10:00, had a technical conversation with translation help from his niece about the spring tapping scheme, and finally turned in for the night.
Everything that happened from Damira waking me up in the morning to falling asleep at Bagyshaly’s house was 100% unplanned – like a lot of things that happen to me here. But it was a great day. I met interesting people and I think I even contributed to some productive work.
I’m beginning to think that planning is overrated.