Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beyond the Youtube videos

Days into my summer internship and I still couldn’t kick the jet-leg. I decided to trade in the view of my bedroom ceiling fan for some fresh air. I began my walk towards town as dawn crept over the jagged snowcapped peaks of Kyrgyzstan. I took a seat on a bench in downtown Bishkek and quickly realized the humbling reality of recent events.

Initially I noticed the brick sidewalk was stained a dull gray from ash. To my right stood three yurts, though more common as a place of residence and not typically found within city limits, these were erected as representations of Kyrgyz tradition, used to shelter the deceased before burial. To my left sat four elderly men, hands cupped, heads down, quietly reciting a passage from the Koran. A moment later a younger man walked in front of the bench, one hand over the bridge of his nose, pinching tears from his eyes. Not long after a women approached the twisted and charred metal gate, now a makeshift memorial. She stood motionless, then laid a bouquet of flowers next to dozens of framed portraits that lined the fence of the former government.

Now- a month old and far from the front pages- the full repercussions from the revolution are still unknown. Which led me to wonder if these events had adversely impacted Mercy Corps and Kompanion’s microfinance and humanitarian operations. It took only a few hours to witness the resolve and dedication of the staff. Their commitment to provide vital assistance to the people of Kyrgyzstan far exceeds any additional challenges associated with this uprising.

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

Great description, Brad. I was just reading about the governmental changes and uprisings there and wondering what you were experiencing. Thank you for sharing.

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