Kazakh Students’ Reaction to “Two Kyrgyz Women” (Part II)

I started writing what the students thought of “Two Kyrgyz Women” which I had assigned to them over the weekend, just the first part.  It got too long, so I cut it in half. If you read yesterday’s blog, you will see the other reactions and feedback I wrote down as they discussed.
  • Ainura had been accused of having “white hands” meaning she was being too delicate to do the hard labor.  However, her calloused hands proved that she had worked hard in the tobacco fields and that she had not suffered the same fate as the other woman in “Two Kyrgyz Women” who was forced to be a prostitute in a brothel in Dubai.
  • Maybe this was God’s will that this woman suffered in this terrible story in order to save the lives of others who might fall into the same trap
  • Someone mentioned that it is the husband’s job to support his family but it was Ainura’s husband who claimed “Nobody’s getting rich by working.” Such a defeatist and fatalistic attitude prevails. The futility of Kyrgyzstan’s economy would make people slip into alcoholism as a kind of panacea
  • The Soviet Union when it fell apart found many males without jobs and no hope for the future, they started drinking. Some laborers will trust the recruiters out of desperation.
  • Someone mentioned they had visited Bishkek in 2005 and said that many in Kyrgyzstan are not educated. Kyrgyz people don’t know about the outside world, they may be rich in soul and they might believe everyone.  They can’t imagine cheating others because they wouldn’t do it amongst themselves.
  • Ainura’s decision to try an opportunity and her decision to go after it is no different from an educated person’s desire to disappear from a bad situation.  Many understand “the grass is greener on the other side” no matter how rich or poor you are.  Life always seems better over there.
  • Everything depends on a woman.  The saying “Man is the head but the woman is the neck.” She is the one who has power to turn the head to the right or left.
  • There was a comic strip about bride kidnapping in Shymkent and if you are kidnapped as in the cartoon, you may call out for help, even call the police but they will not help the poor girl. She may even die, the police will not rescue.  How much more for those who are poverty stricken and out in the rural areas working as slaves, the police will not help them.
  • Thirty-forty years ago, maybe people would have trusted, but now they don’t. You can’t trust anybody.
  • Due to lack of education, many in the rural area have no idea about the globalized world
  • Someone looked up what charity organizations exist in Kazakhstan, she was searching for groups on Facebook to see what she could join to help
  • The people who have lived through the slavery and returned to their families can’t even tell their families about what they went through.  Their families are too old-fashioned to even believe that such cruelty in the outside world could even exist.
  • Returned people are closed up, they may be able to communicate what happened to people they don’t know, but they would NEVER tell their relatives about it because nobody would understand, they would NOT be believed.  Prejudice and gossiping is a powerful thing to fuel shame in the villages.
  • Especially these two women could not talk about what they experienced to their mothers.  They couldn’t even talk about the problems they had with their husbands which drove them to this exploitation in the first place. Their husbands were not providing for them and their children, so they took matters into their own hands.
  • There is definitely a generation gap with the older generation not knowing about the globalized world
  • Don’t blame Ainura for taking this chance that turned out so badly.  Many educated people try to escape their problems too.  Though someone thought she was irresponsible for taking her child with her.  She should have left her child with the grandmother
  • One last story about kidnapping.  There was a man who was married and had a child.  He went into the army in Chymkent and he served as a soldier for two years in Atry, an area known as a dark hole close to Chymkent.  After two years his commander sold him for 5,000 tenge to work in the fields.  He was there as a slave for five years. This slavery exploitation is not only about women, men are enslaved who are desparate as well.
  • One final comment is that the Kyrgyz and Kazakh people are close brothers, this book connected deeply to the Kazakh teachers who read about the first woman in “Two Kyrgyz Women.”

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