The Darker Truths

Upon reflection, I make this trip sound like it was a fairy tale.

It was.

But a real, proper Grimm’s fairy tale where people are drawn and quartered and there is as much misery as there is joy.

Don’t get me wrong. There was joy. Tons of it. In no particular order this included:

singing with lots of strangers who became friends

playing football with children who didn’t speak English

learning a new game (which involved animal bones. more on that later) and laughing my fool head off

swimming late and night and watching the Milky Way come out like a rainbow of light across the night sky

It was pretty fucking amazing.

BUT. Kyrgyzstan is a country in poverty. It’s in a harsh transition, trying to reconcile old traditions and modern lives – and lots of people are caught up in hard choices and uncertain futures.

For every happy child, there are dozens without access to education or modern health care.

For every warm, nurturing home, there are girls ripped from their families and women treated as second class citizens.

And on top of it, there were rats and wolves and all manner of real life dangers in the wild. I saw more blood than I expected that’s for sure. And one or two organs too.

I want to show you all of it, and remember it honestly. For the wonderful, hopeful, scary and invigorating place that it is.

So from now on it’s all on the table, people. Trust me. It’s worth it.

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