FYI Re: Songbae in Bishtek, Kyrgyszstan

Bishtek Updates (since people keep asking)\

April 17 clarifications:

“1) They were considering evacuating us to Kazakhstan but they never did
2) I was hired as interim CFO for Kompanion, which is Mercy Corps microfinance bank in Kyrgyzstan.”

April 11, 2010

“Hello all,

Things are fairly quiet in the city and we were “de-consolidated” yesterday which means we were allowed to go back to our own apartments.

After getting back to my own apartment, I took my first shower since Wednesday (they had showers at our “safe house” but I figured the revolution was a good excuse to skip a few days). It seems a little strange to do anything normal during these un-normal times but after my shower I got a haircut (where they proceeded to wash my hair two more times).  Then I went grocery shopping (at the shopping center which wasn’t looted) because I had left all my boiled eggs, ramen noodle bowls and canned corn at the safe house. The store where I went grocery shopping had been badly looted in the 2005 revolution, really fortified itself afterwards and survived this round.  Lesson well learned.

After shopping I did the wash which means right now I’m wearing my “gym” clothes.  When I first arrived in Bishkek last November I bought a heavy coat, two dress shirts, a pair of work pants and two pairs of socks.  I alternate the dress shirts and socks.  My next purchase was a pair of “office” slippers. This prompted someone in my office to comment that I don’t seem to care about what I wear.  He was wondering if it was a personal or cultural thing.

Since I don’t have a camera, here are some links to articles with pictures.  The picture in this article is the “mall” where I usually (or should I say “used to”?) go to lunch.

It is also the mall where I (used to) get holes in my clothes sewed.  I have so far brought in a jacket, pants and a sweater.  When I brought in my socks, though, they said no and told me just to buy a new pair.  When I told my co-worker what happened she took out a needle and some thread and sewed them on the spot (she first asked if the socks were clean and then added that I should get married so my wife could sew my socks).

This article has a map of Bishkek (I’ve also attached a copy with my edits) where you can see my old apartment.

I read another article referring to the protests as the Easter Revolution which is a little funny since Kyrgyzstan is a Muslim country.  Someone in my office suggested that I move up my trip to Bangkok but after reading the news today I’m not so sure that’s a good idea either?


April 7, 2010

Although all international emails and websites were cut off for a time yesterday, we have now received email from Songbae and he has called twice in the last 48 hours.

He is safe and well.

He has been in a “safe house” with other expats, but tomorrow he will be evacuated to Kazakhstan.

Last week Songbae was hired as the Mercy Corps interim Chief Financial Officer for six months. That seemed like exciting news, until he and his coworkers started being able to hear gunshots in town from the office.

News about the situation from the NY Times here. And news from here.

This entry was posted in says Songbae. Bookmark the permalink.