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Knife man of Dordoi
Knife man of Dordoi

He sells ceremonial, commemorative, and practical knives. His being so well-armed in such a crowded place is a stark reminder of how wonderfully unregulated Kyrgyzstan can be, without the absurd overabundance of guns that one finds in the US.

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NIK_0977.JPG

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IMG_3882.JPG

Knife man of Dordoi
Knife man of Dordoi

He sells ceremonial, commemorative, and practical knives. His being so well-armed in such a crowded place is a stark reminder of how wonderfully unregulated Kyrgyzstan can be, without the absurd overabundance of guns that one finds in the US.

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Working

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The free market has been a double edged sword for Kyrgyzstan. As the saying went in the early 1990s, Soviets had money and nothing to buy, post-Soviets had plenty to buy and no money. Yes, people are free to be entrepreneurs, but without income, few can buy their wares or services. Henry Ford was right about one thing; in order to sell cars, his workers needed to be able to buy cars. There is plenty of will and many ideas, but capitalism has created mind-bogglng povery and corruption of Biblical proportions, both of whic are unsustainable.

Locals escape the heat at Issyk Kul
Locals escape the heat at Issyk Kul

Rising affluence in accommodation advertised for wealthy Kazakh and Russian tourists is cutting off beach access for locals. The affluent say they pay for exclusive access; locals (who are by definition less affluent) react to outsiders restricting access.

Local transport
Local transport

In rural areas (which is 90 percent of the country) poverty and lack of parts for old vehicles means older forms of transportation are very common.

Children in my flat block
Children in my flat block

Children at this age in many American cities would be less open and friendly. American pubescent hostility seems to manifest in a somewhat less authentically hostile version of hip-hop posturing.

Locals escape the heat at Issyk Kul
Locals escape the heat at Issyk Kul

Rising affluence in accommodation advertised for wealthy Kazakh and Russian tourists is cutting off beach access for locals. The affluent say they pay for exclusive access; locals (who are by definition less affluent) react to outsiders restricting access.

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Playing

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Bokenbaeva
Bokenbaeva

There is much to write about child labor in Kyrgyzstan. In some places it has reached the industrial level as it did in Lewis Hine's day—especially in the street trades—but much is still at the apprentice level in the family business, such as in Bokenbaeva, the town dedicated to yurt making.

Bokenbaeva
Bokenbaeva

In charge.

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IMG_5359.JPG

Bokenbaeva
Bokenbaeva

There is much to write about child labor in Kyrgyzstan. In some places it has reached the industrial level as it did in Lewis Hine's day—especially in the street trades—but much is still at the apprentice level in the family business, such as in Bokenbaeva, the town dedicated to yurt making.

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Women

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The subject of women in the former Soviet Union is complex one for the historian and the human geographer. Having once had legally enforced equality, women are now often relegated to traditional tribal roles. Anecdotally, when I teach students overseas, I have to fnd a way to estabish common ground, especially when teaching American history. I often ask students if their grandparents owned farms in order to discuss rural history with urban students. I was taen aback the first time I asked a student, "What did your grandmother do?" and was met with the answer, "She was a physicist."