News from Uzbekistan – Day 1

We spent today in the company of some wonderful Tashkent people.  Some friends picked us up from the hotel and took us to their place for a time to speak together.  In the room were some of our very good brothers and sisters.  Two wonderful sisters translated into both Korean and English and we were able to exchange stories easily and clearly.  We were even able to make jokes with each other and laugh a lot.  They have a great sense of humour and we enjoyed discovering it.  They told some very sad stories as well as happy ones – and even though things could be a lot better, there was much to be thankful for from what had happened along this journey.  The oldest brother was a little younger than me, but his journey was far more eventful than mine.  There are so many things that we have in common.  The other thing that is noticeable is the fact that it is easy to be straightforward and sincere here.  The Uzbeks and Kazakhs are like that.  There have been large numbers of Koreans here.  They left Korea during the Japanese occupation and fled to Russia, but were eventually deported by Stalin in 1937 to this part of the then USSR.  They excelled in agriculture here.  There is very good agriculture with good soil able to produce a range of products associated with this part of the world.  Roads in Tashkent are quite good and mostly well maintained, especially in the centre of the city.  There are large buildings that look beautiful.  I think the most beautiful are the Russian Orthodox Church and the white Mosque, but there are lots of others.  The roads between towns and cities are not so good and we will be discovering this when we drive from here to Chymkent in Kazakhstan later this week.
We were able to take a spin around the city and see many of the features of the city.  There are some beautifully presented spaces, roads, cultural centres and prominent public buildings.  The Uzbeks are settled people by and large, unlike Kazakhs who are more nomadic and the attention to infrastructure probably tells that story here quite correctly.
These have been good meetings and the display of sincerity and willingness to share and learn from one another has been striking for whatever may happen in the future.
In the evening we were invited to the oldest of the brothers’ home where the discussions continued without a break.  I think they would have been still going if the oldest brother had not suggested we take a break and some rest.
Our next day will give us opportunity to meet with many more family members and we are looking forward to continuing present relationships and making many new ones.
Brian Medway
January 18 –  very early
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