In Aiman’s garden

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Aiman has a large vegetable garden in the back of her house, she also keeps a dozen chickens and two sheeps. She lives in the city of Taraz, a ten minute walk from the center bazaar. She is an urban farmer.

For the occasion of our visit, she had bought a sheep. Early in the morning, the butcher came to Aiman’s house to slaughter the sheep. He breaks down the carcass in a different way than we do in the United States.

As we watched him doing his work he apologized for not wearing a cleaner pair of pants.

Aiman, Zhanara and Zarina cleaned the intestines.

He hung the lungs, the heart and the liver in the apple tree.

Later that day Aiman lit a fire in the outdoor stove and cooked the lamb and a horse sausage in the kazan.

The dinner brought the families of Aiman and her two sisters together.

We ate first a stew of the organs and a tomato salad with purslane from the garden then sampled some spicy sausage Jerome made with the caulfat and finally the main dish of the lamb and the horse sausage, called beshbarmak.

Aiman’s brother-in-law, a doctor, distributed the pieces of lamb according to the guests so each got a specific bone.

Often a guest would get up and offer a toast, talking at length about the significance of the event and everyone would finish their glass of vodka

At all time the table was covered with plates of fruits, sweets, breads and salads.

Aiman Omarbekova is Zhanara’s mother. She lives with her husband in Taraz, a medium size town in the south of Kazakhstan.

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