Last year I spent the Women’s Day educating people on the history and significance of Women’s Day with my NGO. This year the same group changed melody and hosted a private party at a local restaurant with everyone from the organization and several individuals with whom they work with. When I received my invitation I accepted under the conditions that I could bake a cake as the evening’s desert and I could bring a friend. These may seem like strange requests but both are crucial to my survival of any Kyrgyz celebration. The reason why I insisted on baking a cake is that nobody here makes deserts but instead they buy a cake from the bazaar. These cakes make Wal-Mart’s sheet cakes taste like a gourmet desert! The second request was made because I knew that vodka and cognac would be flowing and having somebody there with you is never a bad idea.
So with Peter, a volunteer who lives about 6 hours away from Jalal Abad, I showed up with a chocolate cake and half a dozen roses for all the women who would be there. Upon sitting down I was poured a shot of vodka and encouraged to eat some of the many salads placed in front of me. The night began formally with introductions and small talk but as people became more liquored up, the night became more interesting.
The pentacle of the evening was when we started playing games. Over the course of the evening we played four games, the first one was a relay race and went something like this. Two groups of four lined up on either sides of a hall way in front of a table with two settings of a flask of vodka, a shot glass and a salad. The first person of each team ran up to the table and opened the bottle and then ran to the back of their line, the next person ran up and poured the vodka into the shot glass and they ran to the back of the line, then the third person ran up and took the shot, then the fourth person ran up and took a forkful of salad and the cycle start all over again until the bottle of vodka was gone. It really set the mood for the evening.
The second game we played was when things started to get a bit racy. This game required six volunteers; three of the men and three women. The men were told to sit down and were give a piece of A4 piece of paper that they were to hold on their laps. Next the women were told to each sit in one man’s lap and tear the paper…not using their hands…there was a lot of wiggling and squirming in laps. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!
In the third game we were all instructed to write down a line from 5 different songs, then a scenario was read out and we were to answer with our lyrics. For example one of the scenarios was “How would you describe your wedding night?” my corresponding lyric was “I get by with a little help from my friends…” Unfortunately because most of the guests were quoting Kyrgyz songs I couldn’t understand most of the jokes but apparently some people had an absolutely hilarious taste in music.
The last game that my counterpart directed was with only two players. Each person was given a spoon that was attached to their waist by a piece of string and dangled down between their calves. Then a ball was placed at their feet which they had to move to the other side of the room by hitting the ball with their spoons. The main technique used was hip thrusting!
The rest of the night was filled with dancing, toasting and eating. It will probably be the wildest women’s day I have for the rest of my life!