She had a big black mole on her cheek hugging her nose and was breastfeeding her newborn the entire time Laura was talking with her. They’d gone on a full two minutes before she asked Laura for money. She was from the south and spoke fast, and it was hard for Laura to understand her.
From what Laura gathered, this is her story.
She said her parents and all her siblings are dead. She said when she was 30 years old, she needed a child (her words). So a year and a half ago she went to Kazakhstan, the country to the north of us, and she ended up with some guy. But she wasn’t wife number one. The man was already married with four children. Since polygamy isn’t legal in Kazakhstan just like it isn’t in Kyrgyzstan, their marriage wasn’t official. The man’s other family lived in the city, but this woman lived up in the mountains in the summer and down in a village during the winter, traveling with her husband who herded sheep.
A few months went by, and she got pregnant. By the first week of March, she was at about 39 or 40 weeks. She said that the man, for whatever reason, decided he didn’t want her anymore and kicked her out of his house. The village where she was living is close to the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, but there’s not an official border crossing nearby. She said she didn’t have enough money to get a taxi to the nearest one, so even though she had all the needed documents to cross the border legally and re-enter her native country, she decided to do what people without documents do.
According to her, somewhere along the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border there’s a pipe with a diameter wide enough for a person, even a nine-month pregnant person, to crawl through. In March the pipe is empty, probably due to the fact that not enough of the snow up in the mountains has melted off yet. In she went. Down, down, down for who knows how long. Upon the reaching the end and crawling out, she was in Kyrgyzstan.
Then she lost consciousness—probably something to do with being tired, dehydrated, and 40 weeks pregnant.
The next thing she remembered was waking up in an ambulance on her way to the hospital where she had an emergency C-section.
Now, just weeks later, the baby is doing fine, and through one of the doctors at the hospital, the woman was able to find her way to the women’s shelter where Laura met her and heard her tale.
She can stay at the shelter for up to three months, but then she’ll need to move on. As of now, she has no family, no husband, no money, and no plan as to what’s coming next. All she’s got is a baby that’s just a few weeks old. At the moment her future looks about as bright as the inside of a certain pipe reportedly running somewhere underneath the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border.