Azim Pasanov’s home on the outer limits of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, has no water and no electricity. Eighteen years after he moved there, his life remains unsettled. Doctors won’t see his bedridden wife, Sanabubu, and he can’t send all his grandchildren to school because he and his relatives still lack proper registration documents.
“We are like trash,” said Pasanov, a 65-year-old pensioner. “If people get sick, or a woman is about to deliver a baby, when we call ambulance they don’t come here. … Even if we go [to the hospital], nobody wants to see us, and we have to give a bribe.” He can only afford to send two of his four grandchildren to school because the bribes are too steep to send them all. “Children who are born here don’t have documents; the children don’t study,” he lamented.
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David Trilling is EurasiaNet’s Central Asia news editor.