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    Posted in report, 25th of September, 2017


    Silence for a change
    A report about the Silent Journey in Kyrgyzstan

    Olga Mink travelled to Kyrgyzstan in August as part of 100 DAYS OF LEARNING. Read an excerpt of her detailed report below.

    Silence for a changeSilence for a change

    The overwhelming nature of Kyrgyzstan is still imprinted on the back of my eyelids. I deliberately try to hold on to this wonderful afterglow yielding images of endless horizons, snow-capped mountain peaks, herds of sheep and wild horses wandering through barren landscapes inhabited by friendly people living in yurts. I am in nomad land. A place where both abundance and shortage don’t seem to exist. Where the native people, carrying an age-old history, are surrounded by high-altitude beauty and where the landscape hasn’t changed for thousands of years.

    As part of this year’s Age of Wonderland, people share their personal life experiences resulting in 100 Days of Learning; a movement built out of 100 individual events around the globe that encourages individuals to share knowledge involving local communities. As a contribution to 100 Days of Learning, Symbat Satybaldieva initiated The Silent Journey, a 6-day trip revolving around nomadic ways of living in her home country, Kyrgyzstan. Symbat was a fellow of Age of Wonderland in 2015, in that year dedicated to sustainable food. For this edition, she invited people to Kyrgystan to get acquainted with the tradition of their nomadic culture.

    The Silent Journey starts in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek. Symbat created an ambitious program to introduce us with nomadic practice and traditions. She gathered a group of local experts with relevant skills and knowledge to bring across the nomadic culture. The first day brings us into the high mountains of Chon-Kemin, to experience the nomadic lifestyle of shepherds. The six-hour ride leads us over a bumpy, windy and dusty road. While the group is getting acquainted with each other, Symbat introduces us to our translator Burbul, a beautiful Asian woman with the eyes of a little girl. Chynara, is our expert on Kyrgyz nomadic culture. She is a charismatic Russian-speaking woman, dressed in beautiful colours to complement her grounded personality. An injured foot from a recent car accident could’t keep her from joining this journey. Chynara tells us how she was hesitant towards nomadic traditional culture at a younger age. She started appreciating and learning the traditions only when she was years older. During the Silent Journey, she shares her wealth of knowledge and guides us through the main topics of traditional nomadic culture.
    While we hit the road, Chynara introduces us the basics of religions, how each of them influenced each other, emphasising a different angle to life, love, the self, and the other. Judaism, Islam, Christianity are religions that evolved around these basic principles. They became more dogmatic in time. Tengri, the traditional religion practiced by the nomadic Kyrgyz culture and means ‘Blue Sky’, is all about the intricate connection with nature. Coming from The Netherlands where nature is almost non-existent, it’s hard for me to grasp this concept. But after spending my first days in the Kyrgyz mountains and meeting nomadic people, it’s starting to become more vivid and real to me. When there is nothing else to relate to but your surroundings — in this case the sand, the grass, the sky, the sun, the birds, the wind and the mountains — I slowly start to get acquainted with the idea.

    Read Olga's full story on Medium.

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