By Luther Flagstad — For Rattling Chains
Picking my way across the field of cow pies and broken vodka bottles, I waved and said, “Salymatsyngarby” to a few students on their way to class. I stepped up to the first “tee” and tested the wind.
I would have to be careful today – an old man was tending his sheep in the fairway.
I am an American disc golfer and Peace Corps volunteer living in Kyrgyzstan. It’s a country I had never heard of before this experience. Kyrgyzstan is a small, former Soviet Union country in Central Asia. It boarders China and some other countries of which you might not know.
When I got the assignment in the mail five months ago, my first thought was to ask if there were any disc golf courses.
There weren’t. But since I couldn’t imagine a world without disc golf, I packed a few discs and t-shirts anyway.
After a month of getting settled into my permanent site in Karakol City, I headed out to the park across the street from my work. It was mid-day and students were walking through the park on their way to lunch. I snapped a few across the field and one of my discs landed on a sidewalk. A young student wearing a shiny black suit picked it up and tossed it back.
“Nice throw!” I said in Kyrgyz, the local language.I explained that it was disc golf and they should try and throw it from where they were to the object — a telephone pole. I spit out the rues in broken Kyrgz. A few other kids joined and we threw discs around for a little while.
“Keremet! Awesome throw!”