The World Nomad Games are something that I frankly didn’t even know existed. This granted is only the second time they’ve had them but it’s not anything that was even on my radar and it has been the best week of my service. I was very lucky to be asked by the American Corner in Karakol to come and help them work their tents and talk about American Culture and History. A good deal of my friends participated in the games themselves and while I was originally asked to participate I turned it down because I didn’t have time to learn the game and didn’t want to look like a dummy. So I was lucky to be able to go and help in this context. There were many different sites around Cholpon-Ata, one of the large cities in Issyk-Kol which is known as a prime tourist beach town, and I was at the Kyrchyn site which was up in the mountains. This site was meant to look at nomadic as possible. There were large wooden brides, each oblast had their own section with a large wooden gate and everyone was in yurts. There were men on horses riding around all day and the whole thing felt like magic. I played games with my students all week and taught people about American Culture and had just an amazing time. It was exhausting but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. The whole experience was simply magic. I can’t explain it as anything else.
A large group of women in traditional clothing playing a game together.
One of the games we played was horse shoes which all of the locals who came to our tent LOVED. Especially this little man. He kept playing and then getting right back in line.
Throughout the week and during the opening ceremony they did reenactments of Manac so to only add to the magic these young women were riding around looking like badass warriors.
From the top of one of the large bridges you can see most of the main area of the valley, where the main stage was and some of the oblasts but this doesn’t include hundreds of the other yurts on the other side of the rive and behind me. This was a large yurt building competition that was really fun to watch.
Gorgeous handmade shurdocks.
One of the Native American dancers playing football with some jigeets.
Women in absolutely gorgeous traditional clothing look at the books and talking to us about some of the services offered by American Corner.
The gorgeous earrings that I traded my traditional earrings for with one of the Native American dancers. Them being there was outrageously special and I burst into tears when they danced a Kyrgyz dance, and my favorite the Kara Jorgo, on stage with a bunch of kids in traditional clothing. Also I FINALLY got my picture with an eagle and one of my girls got us to take those pictures for free so it was even better.
Finally. These guys. These kids are so special to me and they work so hard and were so amazing all week. Some mornings (like this one) we were up at 3 am and they just kept going all day. I was so proud of them with how they held themselves, their work ethic and just the constant smiles on their faces all week. These kids make what I’m doing worthwhile. I love these angel monsters.
I really can’t do the whole week justice with these pictures. It was the best week of my service and I doubt it’ll be topped.