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A travel journal in Kirghizstan
April 25, 2013
by Jean Gaumy
A short time ago I was listening on a French radio to an interesting interview with a documentary filmmaker during a broadcast of high quality. At one point the journalist asked him “but finally is there any country which is yet unknown?”. He immediately replied “Kyrgyzstan, capital Bishkek”. He was wrong, I went there in March 2000. He was right, I went there because I sincerely didn’t know where it was. From the geographic point of view he is totally right, as very few people know where it is. In fact what I like and what I liked was that feeling of discovering. To discover a country at high altitude, surprising in its diversity.

With the Leica project always in mind I called some Kyrgyz contacts and two quite exceptional opportunities of travelling in the country were immediately offered me. The first occasion is a trip of three weeks at the border of Tajikistan in areas incredibly lost in high altitudes, where a young French woman, Jacqueline Ripart, is planning to leave from September 16 to October 6 to support the local traditions, the development of some possible tourism (in any case there is none), and the implementation of solar energy systems. Incredibly, the second person with whom I get in touch, Almakan Naizabekova, a Kyrgyz woman who used to work for the cultural project Soros, tells me “Jean, come with us. We make a tour of film projection on human rights throughout the country, towns, small villages, the entire month of October”. I am excited by the number of encounters and opportunities of all kinds that will be offered.

This is exactly what I want, what I like, some kind of ‘drift’ that allows me to have surprises and conjunctures that I did not even consider. The true ‘travel picture’!
Filming also a bit.
Take time.