Wednesday, May 30, 2018

We Took a Hike

The Kyrgyz Jilo begs to be hiked.  "Jilo," for the sheepishly uninformed, is the highland.  The mountains.  The areas where all the herds are heading.
Because it's green up there and horses, cows and sheeps like green.
 The women of southern Kyrgyzstan like green too.  20 of us squeezed into a little car and an even squishier mini bus.  Our fearless leader is above at the front.  She's Swiss.  I am certain that Swiss people are born with a hiking gene.  Totally serious.

Curt tied our luggage in.  Four extra people sat in the aisle with knees in their backs and bags in their faces.
Curt later told me that he was worried about that bus making it.
Curt never worries about vehicles making it.
We had a three-hour drive to the Jilo that took six hours.
 The mini bus did fine on the way
until we got to some inclines.
Then it started to roll backwards.
 So we walked.
We were heading for that faaarrrr mountain.  The bus didn't make it.  Fearless leader lady flagged down another.  
 I'm pretty sure hearing about other people's hiking trips ranks right up there with eating canned peas, so feel free to scroll down at lightening speed.
  But if you linger, you might be able to imagine inhaling crisp, clean air while you wash your supper dishes in the icy stream. (After all, it was snow just yesterday.) You could marvel at the hospitality of the shepherding Kyrgyz as they offer their heavy cream, yogurt and fresh milk for you to sample.
  Best of all, you would get a glimpse of women who made me all sorts of weepy.
 Not sad, weepy.
Honored to be walking among them, weepy.
And not honored because they trudged up a steep mountain for FOREVER, or because they sloshed through one of those crazy-cold rivers up to their hiking-pant thighs.  THREE TIMES.
 No.  I was honored to be in their presence.  They have sacrificed to be here.  They are glad they do what they do.  They are wise. They are smart.  They are humble and engaging.  Their stories floored me.
 Some of them I already knew.
All of them won my admiration.

The Kyrgyz Jilo goes on and on.  We saw quite a bit in one weekend.

A short amount of time, but enough to get a taste of camaraderie that only comes through shared experiences--the thrills and the trials. 

There are relatively few foreign women who understand the specific challenges and joys of living in southern Kstan. 

Our common focus superseded nationality and age and brought us all the closer..

That, and the bus ride home.

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