Friday, May 13, 2011


We are often asked, what is life like in Kyrgyzstan.  We blog different things to keep you in the know, but there are some things that just don't get communicated well.  For example, costs of things are so extreme.  You can purchase a tea kettle like the beautiful one pictured for about $5.00.  Yet, you never know if it will be good or not so good.  In the case of this tea kettle - both John and Lynn purchased one the same day - exactly alike.  One for Julie and one for me.  Beautiful we thought - wow stainless steel.  Well, maybe not so.  Maybe some sort of plastic?  At any rate - early this morning I got a call - "TOSS OUT THE TEA KETTLE IMMEDIATELY!"  It was our good friend John, and it seems his own tea kettle decided it had worked for two weeks and that was long enough.  It rebelled by bursting into flames - (see the picture of John's kettle).  Well, it was an easy decision - toss out the kettle - and go back to the gas stove and a pan!  This is Kyrgyzstan after all.
Then later in the day, I heard a knock on the door.  It was my neighbor wanting 20com - she was collecting from each apartment dweller - 12 apartments in all.  20 coms each.  Seems she hired someone to cut the shrubs - 2 men taking all day for just 240coms!  Can you imagine - Well, you likely cannot - unless you understand 20coms = about 40cents.  Yes that is right 40cents.  Meaning these two men worked all day - and very hard for just $4.80.  See pictures - and this was done by hand - no electric clippers here!
And the final part of the story - to live here is very hard.   Food is extremely expensive here and costs almost the same as in North America.  Our little babushkas living around us make about $27 US per month pension.  A large bag of rice can cost that much. 
So in spite of the tea kettle - we are blessed beyond our understanding to be in this beautiful country with these beautiful people.  Just thought you might like to know some of the realities of life in Kyrgyzstan.

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
                                                                                by Robert Louis Stevenson


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