Day 239: Yurt Building (Marta)


Hi. Marta here. It is my second day officially on the silk road with the boys. And it has exceeded all of my expectations... In an unexpected way.



~Pictures of the day before~


So... first I woke up with my foot still hurting from yesterday's walk. And, even though, I did try to warm up before the trip with walking, hiking, and swimming - - my body couldn't handle it. As a result, the boys stayed with me by the Barkol Lake for another day and, wow, was it an eventful one! It is one of the days when I felt extremely disappointed in myself and tried to find myself useful but it was difficult, and I felt pretty sulky.


The day turned around, when Paul asked me to watch a movie with him, which immensely improved my mood. I swear, I have been laughing so much these days thanks to Paul, Pat, and Timb. They're great company if you couldn't tell from all their entries... 😉





After the film, I tried to find some food but instead I joined the yurt construction that was happening outside. I saw Pat and Timb helping the local Kazakh tribe earlier in the day but I felt like I couldn't really do it myself because of the pain. I quickly forgot about the pain though, and helped sew in the outer layer of felt to the skeleton of the yurt. At that point, I thought that the hardest part had been finished, but I think that it took us another 2 or 3 hours to put it all together.




In the meantime, a camera crew showed up and decided to interview me. They asked about the boys and their expedition, but mostly they were interested in how we feel about this area. I couldn't stop talking, went on and on about the landscape and hospitality of people till they had to cut me off.



Well, anyways... going back to the yurt - - It was a wonderful experience. First, because I got to observe different generations of people working together in - - almost - - perfect harmony (the younger people had no idea what they were doing at times, but the older ones sorted them pretty quickly). I guess it was so impactful for me, as I rarely feel that sense of community in my life. The other thing is, I realized all the Kazakhs were from different tribes, and building a yurt is a sort of a special event that brings them all together. There's also the fact that one of the guys couldn't quite speak, instead he was making different sounds and using his gestures to communicate. And, I guess I was used to having people like that excluded from the society. But here, it was quite the opposite. Everyone has a place, is welcomed and appreciated.


I am not sure if what I am trying to convey makes any sense, but working physically and helping and being a witness to this entire process brought me a lot of joy and faith in people and I feel like I learned a lot. 




After the yurt was all finished, we all were invited to the dinner. Timb and I were asked to sit with the elders and learned tons about their customs, and history and traditions. I think by the end of the evening we all were extremely grateful to have spent this time together.


Random facts:

A yurt costs approx. 20k Yuan (~$3,000 USD). It is used for ten months a year. The pretty part of the door should be on the inside. Every time a Yurt is being built people from all tribes come together to help. Kazakhs seem to bond over arthritis.




I finished the day on the pier nearby, enjoying yet another spectacular sunset. I could tell you all the feelings that it brought but... Well... that would be an entirely different story.



Kilometers walked: 0

Yurts built: 1

End: Yurt city next to Lake Barkol



Written by Marta Nowak

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