Ratbu, a teacher from Toktogul, works as Max’s counterpart. She also has started an NGO focusing on strengthening education for disabled and special needs children and has worked with Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan for years. This was taken as she gave us a tour of her farm at the edge of the mountains surrounding Toktogul, not pictured is the incredible feast that she offered us. Ratbu-Eje* is amazing.
* “Eje” is Kyrgyz for “older sister,” and is used as a term of respect for any woman you suspect might be at least 12 hours older than you. It’s male equivalent, “Baike,” Kyrgyz for “older brother” is similarly used for older men. It is also a respectful way to call out to a stranger.