Kyrgyzstan presentation educates

Kaitlynn Breeden, Staff Writer

“The Heart of Kyrgyzstan” was presented by senior Akbermet Mametjanova on March 26 in Gardner Hall. Mametjanova discussed the history of Kyrgyztan and how the culture compares to American culture.

In 2010, Kyrgyzstan became the only central Asian country to have a woman president, which was Roza Otunbayeva.

“Even though she only led us for one year, she was strong enough during that time to bring us together,” Mametjanova said. “We were on the verge of civil war, so she really took it in her hands and helped us grow beyond that.”

The United States and Kyrgyzstan also are different in their beliefs and how children are raised.

“Basically, what we believe is that when babies are just starting to walk, they have invisible ties around their legs and that’s why they can’t walk well,” Mametjanova said. “We do races with little kids from ages eight to 12, and whoever gets there first gets to cut the ties off the babies’ legs.”

Symbolically that means that cutting the ties is freeing the baby from whatever’s holding them back. It’s also taken as they are wishing the baby happiness and a bright future.

Freshman Kiera Croxen thought it was interesting how Kyrgyzstan people name their children, in comparison to the United States.

“I thought it was interesting how the oldest elder gets to name the children,” Croxen said. “It’s completely different from American culture and I really like that the names they chose have a literal, symbolic meaning to them.”

Mametjanova talked about how names in Kyrgyzstan also have symbolic meaning.

“The name picked for the child is almost like a blessing and wishing for their life,” Mametjanova said. “For example, my name means ‘white pearl.’”

According to freshman Sarah Roschweski, she thoroughly enjoyed Mametjanova’s presentation.

“My favorite part of the presentation was learning about the history of Kyrgyzstan and how the culture has developed over time,” Roschweski said. “It was interesting to learn about how different our daily lives are.”

The language used in Kyrgyztan is primarily Kyrgyzstan and Russian.

Kyrgyzstan has a range of major religions, 75 percent of the population follow the Muslim religion. 20 percent of people follow Russian Orthodox, and five percent of people identify as other.