This week the calmest work week since my arrival to Kyrgyzstan. Coming back from Issyk-Kul, I arrived late on Monday due to some complications with finding a driver. I was worried about being late, since we had a follow-up meeting scheduled with the Rule of Law Committee. However, after my arrival, I discovered that the meeting had been cancelled. Since no other activities were planned for the day, I was allowed to take the remainder of the day off and recover from the busy weekend and return trip. We also had Tuesday off for July 4th, so the next time I made it back to the office was Wednesday.
On Wednesday, I continued to work on developing the reporting system for Free Legal Aid Centers (FLACs). We will meet to fine-tune this later next week before passing it on to run test reporting from selected FLACs. From there, I expect that we will respond with additional changes before cleaning up the UI and sending the file to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for approval.
About thirty minutes before leaving on Wednesday, I received an impromptu invite to return to Issyk-Kul on Thursday morning. We had the opportunity to stay at a nice resort on the lake. The trip was in anticipation of the 107+ degree temperatures expected in Bishkek over the weekend. I was thrilled to return and Meder generously granted me approval to leave the following morning. It turned out that many people from the office left Bishkek during the weekend, since the temperature made it unbearable to do almost any outdoor activity within the city limits. On Thursday morning, before leaving the city, I returned to the office to drop off my most recent draft of the FLAC reporting system for review.
The resort itself was gorgeous. A villa-like building, followed by apartments and then townhouses lined side streets that connected to a central walkway leading to the beach. The surrounding environment was lush, filled with flower bushes and large shade trees, including willows. We spent Thursday and Friday along the beach, relaxing and enjoying the comparably pleasant 90-degree weather.
From there, I went with a coworker to spend time with her and her family who were visiting from Kazakhstan. They owned an apartment in a town a few kilometers east of Cholpon Ata, and I was able to rent a room in the building adjacent to them. For the next couple days, we had meals together, went to the beach, and did a few other activities including visiting a boardwalk/theme park area with a ferris wheel, roller coasters, and water slides. The family was extremely welcoming and hospitable, and it was great to get know them over the weekend. Overall, it was surreal to be back in Issyk-Kul so soon, and I appreciate that the team was willing to give me more time to experience this beautiful area.
On Sunday, we planned to get up early to beat the wave of traffic coming back to Bishkek for the Monday workday. We originally planned to be ready at five o’clock, however I was the only one who managed to be ready by five. The others weren’t even awake until half past seven, but I made good use of this free time. I spent the morning hours walking around the beach to take some photos and managed to make some visual edits to the FLAC reporting table using my phone, all while sitting on a bench outside of the apartment.
By the time I got back to my apartment in Bishkek, it was already two o’clock in the afternoon. I had been up since four-thirty, so I spent the majority of my Sunday recovering and getting ready for the workday on Monday. Though the temperature had tapered off to a relatively cool 100 degrees, I wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of the day sitting underneath my air conditioner. By nine o’clock in the evening, I walked to a local expat café for dinner. Even though night had fully set in, the temperature still hovered above ninety degrees. Thankfully, next week is projected to be a bit more merciful.