“Makal” in the Kyrgyz language means “proverb.” Kyrgyz is full of wonderful and puzzling little proverbs – some that match common proverbs often heard in English and some that are real head scratchers. Most Mondays I’ll post one of the more fun ones for you. Let’s see if we can’t make some of these commonplace in America by the time I get back!
Menin Koluma da karga chychaar
Менин колума да карга чычаар
“Maybe a crow will poop on my hand too”
You know that moment. That moment where you’re standing under a tree or maybe a power-line somewhere and something wet hits your head. You’d say it’s rain, but there’s not a cloud in the sky. What is in the sky, however, is a pair of wings and a little feathery body. “Direct hit!” he radios back to command center as he makes his aerial escape.
Of course you don’t have a towel with you. You’re dressed and pressed and on your way to work. You even shampooed your hair that morning to look good for the cute girl in sales. Which is why it’s so fortunate that a bird pooped on you—it’s a sign of good luck—and maybe, just maybe, this is the day she’ll return one of your internal instant messages that you send with all the emoticons.
Being pooped on by a bird is good luck in Kyrgyzstan. I’m not sure if that carries over to other animals, but as I’ve also had the honor of being graced by other varieties I’m going to pretend yes.
That’s the context for this Kyrgyz proverb. The literal translation is “maybe a crow will poop on my hand too” but what it means is “maybe I also will be so lucky.” When good fortune comes to the people around you, you hope that luck will also someday come your way.
As our two year contract is coming to an end this week, the volunteers in my group are looking back over two years of service. The weekend has been filled with goodbyes of so many kinds—toasts, hugs, memories and last shared moments.
Our group ordered T-shirts as a memento to be carried back with us beyond the final days of service and back to the states, something to both honor Kyrgyzstan and to remind us of the connection we will always have. On the front is our Kyrgyz proverb but slightly altered. It says, “A crow did poop on my hand too.”
At times throughout service, being a Peace Corps Volunteer has felt pretty much just like that—getting shat on that is.
And yes, just like the proverb, we’ve been so lucky to serve here in Kyrgyzstan, a country of great wonder, incredible potential, people generous beyond words and an experience that has taught us so much.
Good-bye to all my friends who are leaving! I’ll see you in a year!