Altynai chose the word тынчтык (=Peace in Kyrgyz).
She lives in a small room in Zavodskoy Paselok, a slum that is known in Bishkek for being rough. She told me that she would like to live a peaceful life here without the junkies, thieves and criminals. She has had money stolen from her in the past and hopes that the neighbourhood will change in the coming years.
Zavadskoy Paselok isn’t ruled by armed gangs like slums I’ve worked in in Brazil, Kenya or the Ivory Coast. But like in many low income neighbourhoods, alcohol is a big problem here and vodka related fights and robberies are common.
In a place where most people are so generous and respectful, I sometimes forget that this is actually a tough slum. That’s until yet another limping troublemaker smelling of potato acetone comes our way, switching our defensive mode on.