In Khorog, I’m fairly cut off from news. I don’t speak any of the three languages spoken here (Shugni, Tajik and Russian) and barely have phone reception or Internet access. Honestly, living in the mountains in like living in a bubble. You know there’s a world out there, but frankly you just don’t care. It’s so peaceful.
So, I was surprised to read a news story, sent from a friend, regarding a recent bombing in Dushanbe (sound bomb – no casualties). I shared the news with my co-workers. They weren’t too concerned about it.
The Afghans living just across the river (in the Badakshan, Rushan, Shughnan, Ishkashim, Wakhan, Zibak and Kuran-Munjan regions) are considered the spiritual brothers and sisters of the Pamiri people. They are Ismailis (the same religion practiced by the Pamiris) and speak Shugni (as well as Dari which is a form of Farsi). When the Soviets arrived, the border was closed and many families were separated for a generation. People that had left to work on one side couldn’t get back to the other. I’ll elaborate more on the Soviet era and the impact on Tajikistan in a future post.
I’ve got to admit, I’m pretty obsessed with crossing the river for a visit. It’s so close. I could literally throw a stone and hit it, which I haven’t yet attempted. I have, however, waved to the guys building the roads into the side of the mountain across the river and hung my head out the window oogling the landscape at every opportunity.
So, no worries please. Just keeping you up to date on what’s happening in this side of the world.
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I leave tomorrow. I feel sick to my stomach. Today is the first time I’ve had a chance to actually worry about leaving. OK, that’s not entirely true… It’s been a roller-coaster of anxiety. But today I feel especially consumed with worry. Probably because this is the first time I’ve had the chance to actually think. I’ve spent the past week running around trying to prepare for departure. I’ll make my third and final trip to MEC today. Scan all my important docs. Finally try to figure out how to use wordpress features aside from Post and Publish. Pack. Oh God, pack.
At this point whatever I don’t have, I don’t need and I’ll survive without or curse myself for forgetting. I may not have clue as to what awaits me but I do have $50 long underwear that pulls the sweat away from my body and pair of kick-ass hiking boots.
Wow. I’m going to Tajikistan.
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My plan is to work my way around the world.
First stop: Khorog, Tajikistan (otherwise known as the roof of the world).
I will spend the next eight months working in disaster-risk reduction (DRR) as a Monitoring & Evaluation Officer for an NGO. And of course, I’ll take every opportunity to travel in this fascinating corner of the world.
I decided to write this blog mostly because I love reading them. I’ve come to really look forward to the ramblings of virtual strangers living in countries I’ve always wanted to visit, and sharing their intimate moments and personal reflections. Following their adventures reminds me of all there is out there waiting to be experienced. Those personal stories have gone a long way in inspiring me to embark on my own journey.
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