Kyrgyz Phones Again…

by Nathan Hamm on 7/10/2004

I got a little more info on the Kyrgyz Telecoms question from the other day.

What we’re looking for is stories about how communications technology is used there and what it costs if possible. If you have any stories, they’d be appreciated. Also, if you can solicit them from locals or others who’ve lived or worked in Kyrgyzstan, that’d be great.

I have my Uzbekistan stories and they’re probably pretty similar, but considering this is all in the name of science (this is for a Professor at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA), I’d rather not extrapolate. On the other hand, in the name of entertainment, feel free to drop any phone/internet/cellular horror stories or general info in the comments.

I never had a phone anywhere I lived, so I rarely used them. The collective farm (I can’t call it a village if it’s name is “Second Department of the Kibray Tumen”) I lived on during training had lost phone service in the early 90s and it had never been repaired. Everyone had phones, but they didn’t work. It was about a mile to the nearest phone that did work.

I was deathly ill one night and needed to call the doctor. Problem was there were no phones and I was in no condition to make the call from the store down the road. Solution: shady mafia guy who said “bullshit” every chance he got had a cellphone. I loved that guy’s English. The doctor told me to take a bath. I asked if sticking my ass in a bucket of water counted because that’s as close as I was getting. I never had faith in her advice after that. Shady mafia guy told me that his wife’s medicine was, of course, “boolsheet.” Dr. Mafia cured me with 50 ml vodka and salt (I think giving a precise measurement to the vodka, which wasn’t measured, give the whole affair the air of being real treatment). Cleared me right up. Who needs phones?


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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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