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Ram Saravanamuttu: Bishkek lacks cinemas with films in English

Ram Saravanamuttu is the Country Director of the World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations. He has been living in Kyrgyzstan for more than four years, but his term in office is soon coming to an end, and he will move to another country.

Given that most of his work is carried out locally, he often travels around the country. Ram traveled all over the republic. The only place where he did not get is Kazarman.

It is difficult for a man who, like me, lived and worked practically on all continents, to say where he comes from. I was born in Sri Lanka, but grew up in Italy.

Ram Saravanamuttu

— What surprises you in Kyrgyzstan?

— Considering that I had a chance to travel a lot around the country, then, of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the natural diversity. You can see all four seasons during a trip — you start the way in the hot summer and see snow and real winter on the high mountain pass! And there are very hospitable and so enterprising people everywhere. Wherever you go, you can meet interesting and wise people and talk for hours without even knowing the language.

— What reminds you of your hometown in Bishkek?

— I have lived and worked in many countries for so long that I do not feel that I have a hometown somewhere — every city where I live becomes a home. And in each of them I find their own features and similarities. And what particularly reminds me of the native land where I grew up is Dolce Vita pizzeria and green Bishkek streets.

— What do you miss in Kyrgyzstan?

-Does Kyrgyzstan lack something that other cities have? The only thing that lacks is the cinemas with films in English.

— Do you have a favorite place in Bishkek?

— Yes, and it’s really means a lot for me. This is the Oak Park. I really love sculptures in the open air, I walk there every weekend, if I have such an opportunity. I breathe free and easy there.

— What do you like in the national cuisine? And what are you afraid even to taste?

— Nothing surprises me any more — I tried everything, all the culinary delights of the Kyrgyz cuisine. I am very curious person, I’m interested in trying new things. I must say, everything was delicious, but the most delicious is Batken apricot.

I thought I knew what good apricots and apricot jam were, until I tried Batken ones. Believe it or not, I take a few pots of such jam with me — I specially traveled there and bought. And also the sweet Issyk-Kul black currant… And nuts, and trout.

Ram Saravanamuttu

Such a story happened to us in Naryn: we ordered roasted trout for dinner but did not specify the size of serving. I thought they would bring a piece of fish, as each of us ordered a serving. And they brought a huge fish for each of us!

— What fascinated and disappointed you in close acquaintance with the local population?

— I am glad about every acquaintance in Kyrgyzstan — at work and during trips I was surrounded by sincere people, interesting interlocutors. Most striking is openness and sincerity.

— What would you change in Bishkek?

— I would pay serious attention to the reduction of emissions. There are a lot, too many cars in Bishkek. It seems to me that reduction in the number of cars on the streets would improve the city.