21 October 2005

Things I've Learned This Week

When I was at the orphanage today, one of the babies was out with a young woman who turned out to be his mother. I suspected that the young women I've seen there were mothers. Most, if not all, of the babies are not technically orphans. Some of the mothers have given up custody, but I think that others have not and could take their babies home if they wanted.

There are different words for adopting a boy or a girl. I was asking about this today and our Russian teacher thought it was a great idea for us to adopt a Kyrgyz baby.

I'm getting better at communicating with people who don't speak English. This is nice because I can bring up some of my own topics. It's been interesting.

Our Russian teacher's wife gave us a big jar of raspberry jam. They said that when you're sick, you're supposed to eat jam and drink tea. The jam is delicious. I can't stop eating it. I guess I'll be really healthy.

Sometimes all the milk in the neighborhood disappears. I did manage to find one carton after searching for a few days. Luckily I had bought a lot before it all was gone. We need to buy the long shelf life stuff. I hadn't really wanted to try it, but since it was all I could find, we tried it. It was perfectly good and it's a lot easier to keep around. And I hear that you can get 1%. I'm getting tired of whole milk.

We've also been told that there is no need to visit Tajikistan. Uzbekistan is only worthwhile if you go to Tashkent, Samarqand, Khiva, Bukhara, or Urgench. But just about every place is worth visiting in Kyrgyzstan.

Our Russian teacher has decided that I speak much better Russian than my husband. I don't have to do much for him to be impressed.


  1. Okay, your raspberry jam has brought up all kinds of thoughts about farming for me. What is farming like in the area. Are raspberries cultivated or do they grow wild. What types of foods are grown native to the area and what has been introduced by foreign cultures? Is there ample water for cultivation?

  2. Almost all of the produce is local. I understand that there won't be much available in a few weeks except what is usually imported, like lemons, oranges, and bananas.

    I assume that raspberries are cultivated because there are a lot for sale. We've been eating lots of raspberries.

    Tomatoes and peppers are popular, but they're obviously not native. Cucumbers are common, along with potatoes, apples, grapes, melons, onions, garlic, strawberries and more. I think all of these are native.

    I haven't seen a lot of leafy green vegetables for sale, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're grown at home. I think lots of people have gardens.

    There is plenty of water here. That's one thing that Kyrgyzstan has enough of. That's why hydroelectric plants would be a good investment here.

    The mountains are good for water, but there isn't so much arable land. It's better for grazing. There is plenty of produce in the valleys, but much of the country has little access to produce. That's one reason why I prefer to live in Bishkek- you can get healthier food here.

    Most of the water for irrigation in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan comes from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

  3. Interesting. Are there any large companies farming? With the abundance of water usually farming follows. Do you recognize any easily recognizable foreign growers? Dole, Del Monte?

    Then of course, I turn to livestock. Any livestock farming going on there?

  4. Raspberry jam is used as cold and flu medicine because it contains a substance similar to acetylsalicylic acid (also known as aspirin). In traditional medicine raspberry jam is taken with hot tea just before bed. They claim it makes you sweat profusely and thus it is good for bringing down fever.

    As for 1% milk, I'm sure you can find it if you are in Bishkek. Low-fat milk from a local producer, Shin Lain, has also recently become available. Just saw it in stores the other day.