I was truly surprised by the men of Karakalpakstan today! Lunch time in our office is one of my favourite parts of the day for me here. At one pm our cook shouts “Abyet/Lunch” and everyone pours down into the lunch hall where we feast on delicious plov with Kim-Chi, accompanied by one of the best breads in the world, peanuts, chocolates and green tea. Half way through our lunch Asker, one of the logisticians stood up to make an announcement (not unusual here at lunch time). One of the translators also stood up to translate into English for those who don’t speak Russian.
“Today, the men would like to wish all the women a happy Women’s day.” Suddenly, into the room came several men bearing gifts and each woman was given a beautiful red carnation (very rare in the desert!) and two nicely presented glass vases for chocolates or sweets. We were all made to feel special and wished “Sprasnikom”. In Uzbekistan, women’s day is a public holiday, and as it falls on a Tuesday we have a four day weekend. I have just understood why, having just returned from the market which is bustling more than usual with people selling flowers, teddy bears, cakes, and many delicious foods. I noticed a lot of women buying the food and rushing about. Here’s hoping that at home it’s the men who will cook up the feast today! For me, I would swap pancake day for women’s day every year if I had the choice.