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25 September 2011 / leggypeggy

Life in a yurt

More than 20 of us were served from this tiny kitchen space.

I first met yurts when we were on the way to Lake Song-Köl. The hills of eastern Kyrgyzstan are littered with these spacious felt structures. They are often grouped in twos and threes, and given that we were travelling through in early autumn, I noticed a lot of life was still be lived outside the yurt.

I was tempted to assume that yurt living would be extremely hard. It’s true that life is in no way as easy as the life we know. They don”t have most of the conveniences we’re used to—no running water, no electricity (some have generators), no individual rooms, no indoor flushing toilets, no showers, no computers, no television and so many other things!

But the people who live in yurts seem to be doing just fine. They are warm and sheltered. The air is fresh and clean, the food is natural (even if it isn’t always to your taste) and the outdoors are a wonderful playground for the curious. And if you don’t like it where you are, you can pack up your yurt and move.

I especially enjoyed seeing the children of yurts. Their parents are almost constantly nearby. Their toys are saucepans and wooden spoons. Their playmates are dogs, horses, cattle and donkeys. I can’t recall hearing a yurt child cry, except to say feed me. And I never saw siblings fighting.

The slideshow shows a corner of the kitchen tent where we stayed, which wasn’t quite a yurt, and some of the children we encountered.

NOTE: If you have access to Facebook, please feel free to share this post with others. I can’t get on Facebook in China, so it’s impossible for me to let people know I am adding to the blog now. Thanks.

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