News Single

27.09.09 23:17 Age: 8 yrs

Disco Dancing our way to freedom

By: Roger and Megan

How to politely excuse yourself from a party

Riding along the street (on the way to Jelalabad, 26/09) we were beckoned very frantically to enter a house. Wondering what was going on, we pulled quikey over, only to be ushered into a house where a Toi was taking place. This is the coming of age ceremony for an Uzbek boy (usually performed when he is 3 to 7) involving ritual circumcism, a very sacred event for the Kyrgyz people. Upon entering the backyard, we were soon ushered to scoff ourselves silly on plov, shorpa, and meat, before a very drunk many decided to load quikey up with numerous breads, lolllies, fruits, and nuts for the road (he was very concerned we wouldn't have enough to eat on the road). By the time both we and quikey were full, it was time for the present giving ceremony. This involved all of the family members of the young boy being given hundreds (literally... one women had like 5 different scraves, 5 dresses, and 5 tops) of presents, opening them, and trying them on (the poor boy had to wear all his gifts at once, some 6 layers of clothing or so).

After seeing how many children there were at the party we requested that we have the quike close by and in full view of where we were to have chai. Unfortunately this meant we took it a fair way into the property, but it was best for all concerned that we could protect it from (potentially) fiddling kiddies. However, the problem for us is that we often get "vortexed" into these houses, with the hosts so desperately wanting us to stay longer than we can, and it is very difficult for us to leave sometimes. We do like to stay with the people, but sometimes we have kilometres to make or other appointments, and we have to disappoint our hosts by leaving prematurely.

Recognising this as a potential problem situation at this Toi, we tried to think of ways that we could exit without offending anyone. This time it was all the more complicated since the ceremony was taking place right there in our path out - a traditional carpet was layed out right in front of the gate, with people opening present on it. We stayed and watched and took some photos of this all going on, but at the same time we were concerned that we'd be "stuck" there until nightfall, and then it would be unsafe to leave. Then, an opening appeared.

We got one of the men (not the host, another unrelated guest) to help clear the children out of the way as we jumped on the quike and rode slowly toward the dancing area. We decided that we would "dance" our way out of the party, hoping that people would be too enthralled with our dancing to notice quikey slowy inching his way out. Roger bobbed his head up and down to the music and steered, while Megan just pedalled and tried to mimic their hand/head/hip/shoulder movements that they used whilst dancing, with a big smile. Inching our way forward, with the added thank-yous and bows, we successfully danced our way out and were back on the road by anyone even realised. Once on the road, it was easy to say a couple of thankyous, goodbyes, and well wishes, before continuing on the road to Jalalabad.