Breathing the smoke of esyryk

There is very little one can write about Kyrgyzstan: what’s its area, how many different cultures, nationalities and religions must coexist here, mention how beautiful it is, how different the life in a city to the one in the village is, or in the mountains, when spending months in a yurt. These information, every one of us would probably find sufficient, as it’s what every tourist sees, and it’s what amazes him. But for me, Kyrgyzstan means unusual moments, surprising events, daily relations, everything that takes time and what really is elusive. That’s a moment when your neighbor visits you, concerned about your health with a handful of weed. Before you figure out what is really happening, weeds already burning, acrid smoke is everywhere, and he tells you that it improves health and it will make you feel better. Willy-nilly, you let him to incense you, and with tears in your eyes (from excess smoke) thank him, and after all, when you can finally breathe normally, indeed ….. you do feel better. Similarly, the moment when walking out of town you happen to get lost. Each person leaves what they were doing (children no longer play football, man who’s caring a heavy sack with nuts on his back stops, someone else leaves a workshop), each running to help you, to show the way, and each shows you a different direction, because it�??s his own path, and it is the best one to get where you’re going. And the truth is you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, or say thank you ….

To experience something extraordinary you must also climb the Holy Mountain of Solomon. It rises above the town of Osh. You can see it from the countless number of places, but only after getting to its peak it seems like it’s the focal point and also the beginning of the whole city. As if it was the determinant of its existence. View from the top is beautiful, but the moment that falls into your heart is the moment when muezzins start to call for a prayer. In one moment the song starts flowing from the minarets, and it seems to be filling the air, you start to breathe it, you get the impression as not only the city, but the whole world is invited to pray. At that point, you can clearly understand the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta: ” You say a prayer in your religion, and I will say a prayer as I know it. Together we will say this prayer, and it will be something beautiful to God.”

From the Solomon’s Mountain I saw a few mosques, one CERKIEW, I was also aware that our chapel is hiding in one of the buildings. And in that moment not only I knew but I felt that each of these places is close to God.

At the end I would also like to describe, how we celebrate Sunday here. It is a special day. Here, no one goes to church because they should or because their neighbor is coming too. Why in Kyrgyzstan these few people who go to church on Sunday? I think it can be compared to those few people in Poland who we see on the Mass in the middle of the week. These people know where they are and how much is going on within this less than an hour. There is faith in it, belief, awareness of time and purpose. And this purpose, here in Kyrgyzstan is unique because it does not fully emerge from the purely spiritual reasons, but still exists. Here you can meet people, talk and laugh with them, here you can eat something and here you can enjoy the sense community.

A day at the parish of Mother Teresa of Calcutta starts with a delicious breakfast. All the children who belong to the parish are invited and also those who accidentally appear there during breakfast. There is as much confusion and chaos as the word “child” accommodates multiplied by the number of arrivals of course. First herding to the table, then to clean up together, actually it’s one great race. And the flowers. Before we prepare breakfast, the girls gather flowers from our garden for the chapel. These beautiful bouquets, dictated by the child’s heart, though sometimes so inapt, they are unique. After breakfast, around 10.00 am catechesis starts, lead by Father Remigiusz. Children prepare drawings which are later explained by them during the sermon.

The Mass is always at 11.00 am. Our chapel is filled with about 20 people. Everyone knows each other. You can not feel a stranger here, is just like at home. After the Mass it’s time for a short meeting. We sit at a common table to symbolically eat watermelon and spend time discussing last week. Once everyone disperses to their homes, we try to quickly organize dinner before Father Remigiusz leaves to Osh for the next Mass. That’s how our Sunday looks like. And although we’ve just finished a week of volunteer work, Sunday morning requires a lot of effort from us, but uniqueness of this time mobilizes us and reciprocated smiles compensates for fatigue.


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