Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Khorog to Dushanbe


All of a sudden, our time in Khorog was up. Robyn and Sharlyn were back from the states to help us wrap things up and our last two days were spent working hard to finish what work we had to do for the project (putting together field notes, making audio and video copies for artists, figuring out what we had done with the budget, etc.) and, of course, throwing a party for ourselves and everyone we had gotten to know during our time in Badakhshan. Originally, our plan was to fly back. But, it turned out that getting seven plane tickets to Dushanbe would be terribly difficult considering that everyone and their mother were trying to get to Dushanbe for “Istiqlol” (not sure if it’s spelled right), or Independence day, on September 9th. So, five of us (the three Americans and the two Dushanbe interns) decided to find a ride back and try and stop along the way and document more dance and music. Uvaido went to find us a driver Sunday morning and to our absolute delight, he showed up with Faizali, the same driver who took us from Dushanbe to Khorog six weeks ago!! When the time came, saying goodbye to everyone was very difficult. We made some real friends with whom we shared some life changing experiences.

The plan was to stop in Vanj and find some dancers and musicians, but when we arrived we found that all of the artists had just left to Dushanbe or Khorog to prepare for independence celebrations. We could have waited a day for people to try to find some artists for us, but instead of waiting we headed for Darvoz, where we had stopped on the trip to Khorog, where Faizali knew people, and where we suspected we would have a friendly place to stay. It turned out that we were right. The family that hosted us on the way in was all too happy to see us back and greeted us with smiles, tea, and food. What's more, the man hosting us (who is the head of the village) works next to a music and dance studio and arranged a performance for us the next morning. From Darvoz, we went to Nurak to visit Maruf’s family, who hosted us with meal after meal and a relaxing visit to a sauna. Now we’re back in the Dushanbe apartment and missing the people and environment of the Pamirs. Surely, we’ll have more adventures here in the big city, especially with Independence Day approaching, and with Andy living in an apartment with five women. As always, we’ll try to keep you posted as events occur.




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