Mukhamet Shayakhmetov – Surviving the Silent Steppe, A Kazakh Teacher’s Story

Versailles, France

This is the story of Kazakh man in the post WW2 period : Auls are mourning their loved one, fallen in the war against the nazis, and the kazakh people have spared no effort or sacrifice in the fight against the black horde. This is the touching story of a teacher with boundless resolve and dedication to teaching and offering knowledge to the kazakh children, no matter the hard material conditions or the political intrigues.

Mukhamet Shayakhmetov opened us countless windows on the kazakh soul, culture and values in his narration. I can only pick a few sayings from his story, all of them amounting to life philosophies and accompanied me during my trip in Kazakhstan :

Never make plans for a journey – as we Kazakh say – « The torments of a journey are hellish. All sorts of unforeseen events can happen, and nobody can ever predict their consequences

The first time you meet a stranger he seems like an elk, the second time like a deer, and only the third time you see him as a human being

A folk’s saying « Only an evil spirit nurtures no hope, and a living person must never lose hope

Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, A Kazakh Teacher’s Story, Surviving the Silent Steppe