So, after Emil dropped me off I met up with the English teacher Dinara (who also happens to be Emil’s wife), Angie, Angie’s counterpart, the school maintenance supervisor, and the school Director. And the meeting went really well. They had already done a lot of work that a grant will require: a material and labor cost estimate, the building layout design, and had given some thought to long term maintenance too.
The issue to be solved though – and the reason anyone would want me to come to Naryn – was water and the best way to get it to the bathroom building. The group did a walk around of the school and maintenance director showed me where the municipal water line runs out front. They had had in mind to connect the new bathroom building to the municipal line directly, but when I saw how big the pump was that they were using for the cafeteria sinks I suggested they just integrate the existing system with the new one: Use the existing connection to get water into the school, maybe buy two more tanks for a total of three to supply the water to both the cafeteria and the bathroom, and use the existing pump to fill the tanks. Building off of that idea, the maintenance supervisor suggested we could move the tanks to the second floor to make sure they were well above the bathroom and cafeteria.
So instead of this:
We talked about it for a bit, discussed some other details, and had a snack. After that, feeling like I had contributed something, we wrapped up the meeting and Angie and I went to Emil and Dinara’s home for pizza and besh barmock. It was a strange combination of American and Kyrgyz food, but not an all together bad one. I even got some Kymyz. Their daughters showed off their new born lambs which were, I’ll admit, pretty cute. Angie and I talked over plans for the next steps with the project after dinner and then she left for her own house. Dinara prepared a comfortable bed of tushuks – thick, narrow cushions for sitting or laying on – and I was sleeping like a baby in no time.
The next morning I had to catch my ride back to Kochkor at 8:00 so I was up by about 6:30. I went outside to use the outhouse and the sun was just peeking over the mountains. I could see my breath in the cold air. The sheep and cows and chickens were just starting to move around. The mountains were still dominating the horizon in every direction. After all the craziness of the previous day, I found myself a pretty happy camper that morning.
After a breakfast of tea and bread I thanked Emil and Dinara for their hospitality and help with everything, took some pictures together, then I caught my ride back to Kochkor and eventually Bishkek and home to Talas.