October 8, 2015
The Law of the Jungle
Before 1991, Kyrgyzstan was part of the Soviet Union, and the government provided stable jobs for everyone. Everything was equal. In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed, and in Kyrgyzstan there was chaos. Most people couldn't do anything because they were not ready to face with capitalism. When Kyrgyzstan became an independent country, there was a law “The early bird gets the worm” where people were surviving, and as in Darwin’s theory the strongest succeeded in surviving.
People had lost their jobs and money because of the changed currency. That situation gave some people a good opportunity, especially those who worked before in the government. They could save their money and privatize some factories. Also, there were a lot of scammers that came up with all sorts of companies where people could invest their money and earn a percentage. Nevertheless, when it came time to pay interest, these companies simply shut down and disappeared. The middle class lost all their savings.
This situation affected most families in the country, and of course those circumstances strongly affected my family too.
At that time my mom decided to move to Bishkek because after the Soviet Union collapsed life became hard in my hometown.
|My hometown Karakol|
She quit her job at the school, sold our house and my family said goodbye to all our neighbors. When my family moved to Bishkek, we lived in my aunt’s house for two months while my mom looked a new house and job. It was in 1993. Nonetheless, my mom couldn’t find a house because the currency changed and the money from sale of our house disappeared. In the Soviet Union in Kyrgyzstan people used the ruble, but in 1993 the government decided to adopt its own currency, the Kyrgyz Som.
My family couldn’t buy a house, so my mom decided to rent an apartment. She rented a small room without a kitchen, bathroom because it was cheap. The neighborhood where we rented room was a suburb, but the people seemed strange to me because they were angry all the time for some reason which I couldn’t understand. Most people in that suburb were Russian which another reason why I couldn’t understand them was. I started attending to the Russian kindergarten, my brother studied in ballet school, and my mom started to work in the new job.
During those difficult times, my mom had to change her whole life. She began her first steps as a builder in a construction company rather than pursue a career of teacher of music in a high school. It was a very hard job for a woman because she needed to lift heavy things, but chose that job for the salary. Consequently, my mom didn’t get her salary around six months, and we couldn’t pay for the rent for one month. After a week when my mom was late paying the rent, the owner came to our room, and told my mom that we had to leave. When my mom tried to explain to the owner that she would pay him for two months when she found a new job, the owner said ‘’currently our world is as a jungle, and only one law “The Law of the Jungle’’ applies. In this world, you need to survive as long as you can’’. When he said that, my mom understood that we needed to move because he would never change his mind. My mom, my brother and I moved from that room to the street. It was that my brother studied in ballet school where he could live six days a week. My mom changed her job again, and she started to work in the studio where she sewed dresses. My mom and I lived in the park around one week because we didn’t have any money. All the owners wanted money first, and then would give out a key. While I slept, my mom was crying. I could hear her voice, but I never said anything her about it. I don’t know why, but she never showed me how she cried. Maybe she was afraid that I would cry too, or maybe she wanted me to be a strong girl. After one week, my mom and I found a new apartment where we lived around five years because it was near my school. However I started to study, we faced with other difficulties.
The situation of my country affected my education. The school where I studied was a new public school, but even though it was public school, I needed to pay tuition, and buy all books for classes because school couldn’t provide students with books. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy books because every day the salespeople changed their price and nobody controlled it. Books in the fall were very expensive because it was season for books and school supplies. My class had thirty-three students, and only five students had all books. Most students didn’t care about homework, but I thought if I came to class without homework, my teacher would yell at me. One day I realized that my classmate Nargiza who lived near my home, had all the books. When I wanted to borrow books from her, she told me that I cannot because her mother would yell at her. I always did my homework in front of her house in the street. She couldn’t even invite me into her house because she was scared of her mother. I had always wondered what Nargiza’s mother looked like. Nazrgiza’s mother for me was like a medusa. Nargiza was not a successful student. She never did her homework and she couldn’t understand what our teacher said. Sometimes I hated her because she had all opportunities to study, but she didn’t even try. Maybe Nargiza didn’t study because our teachers were nonchalant. Most of teachers came to school to show that they were there, and they spent their time drinking tea in teacher’s room. Somehow, I finished my education in school and started at the university. Nonetheless, I couldn’t finish my education there because of my financial situation. I ended up getting married very early when I was eighteen years old. My husband and I moved to Turkey because he studied there. In our new country, I learned a new language, found a good job and saved money for my education in the future.
When Kyrgyzstan became an independent country, it was a very difficult experiment for all people and for my family. I am happy that I lived through those difficult times because it made me who I am today. Now when I encounter difficulties, sometimes I do not even pay attention to them. I never will forget that experience from my life, and now I can give better future for my children. In recent years, life is better in my country people adapted to capitalism system, and education is better now than before.
|Now most students have books|
I never regret growing up in those transitional years because if I had good life maybe I would have never studied here. I am grateful to my mother who could survive in those difficult times, and who supports me until now in all my endeavors. Despite the fact that my life is better these days than in those times, I will never forget what my family and I had to go through. People were aggressive, discriminatory and very rude. That life was “The Law of the Jungle”.