Revolution Baby: Motherhood and Anarchy in Kyrgyzstan

“This is my story about how our baby grew in the shadow of the Tien Shan mountains, we survived a revolution and I learnt to love Bishkek, even though it’s made of concrete and people spit on your feet.”

Everybody has a dream, images of the fantasy life they’d lead if not trapped behind an office desk.  Saffia’s dream was to live in the sunshine.  She didn’t realise it would lead to raising her first child up fifty-eight steps in a Kyrgyz concrete tenement.

Saffia had barely heard of Kyrgyzstan when she agreed to move there with her water-engineer husband, Matthew.  Kyrgyzstan is a small country of huge landscapes, a smudge in the vastness of Central Asia.  Saffia arrived in the ex-Soviet republic fifteen weeks pregnant, scared about life in a country where people eat sheep eyes, drink fermented mare’s milk and live in felt tents.

When Kyrgyzstan descends into anarchy after corrupt parliamentary elections, Saffia is trapped in Bishkek.  She witnesses the Tulip Revolution and the violence and insecurity which follow as politicians, mafia gangs, crime lords and Islamic militants exploit the political void.

 Brigid Keenan, author of Diplomatic Baggage:  The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse, says:

As a trailing spouse myself I recognised every word she writes and I found myself smiling all the way through, and often laughing out loud:  Ms Farr has an irreverent sense of humour.  But it also made me want to cry, so vividly does she recreate the grim arrival, the bewilderment and homesickness, and the bizarre daily life of the ex-pat wife.”

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