Back in November I was fortunate to travel to the South of Kyrgyzstan to visit Jalalabad and Osh cities. On my way there I passed right through the community of Bazar Korgon where three of my fellow volunteers – Marguerite, Mike, and Nick – live. I got lucky again and was invited to Marguerite’s village of Jon to check out their old water piping network that’s been out of order for a while.
After a night at Ethan’s place in Toktogul I caught the early marshrutka (7:00AM) and made it to Bazar Korgon by about 1:00. It’s amazing how much a couple degrees of latitude and a few hundred feet of elevation can affect the temperature, but it was beautiful when I got there. It was a hell of a lot warmer than Talas in any case. I met up with Marguerite, helped out (or hung out rather) with her English club, then did a walk around.
Unfortunately, the infrastructure has been in disrepair for quite a while and rehabilitation is pretty much out of the question, but Marguerite also showed me the plan for sinks in the cafeteria at the local school which sounds really promising. I’m really excited to see what she and her school does with that project.
Afterwards, we met up with Nick and Mike at the local burger place for burgers which – while not exactly being an American style burger – were pretty darn good.
I went back to Mike’s place to spend the night which was an especially cool experience because his host family is part of the significant Uzbek population in the South.
Ethnically , Uzbek’s look a lot different (more Persian where the Kyrgyz are kind of Mongolian), have their own language, cuisine, architectural style, and fashion. Mike’s family welcomed be with a big dinner of dumplings dipped in cream and tea. Because they didn’t speak much Kyrgyz, Mike facilitated the conversation translating from Russian.
A big pile of tushuks, that made me feel like the princess from Princess and the Pea, was prepared for me and in the morning we had fried bread that was close enough to French toast to be pretty darn exciting.
I was only there for a little over 24 hours, so I just got a taste of it, but Bazar Korgon is a really pleasant community. The Uzbek feel is different than the Kyrgyz in the north. I sure wouldn’t mind getting another chance to visit.