Skip to main content

Arrival...

Finally arrived in Khorog, a beautiful little mountain community in the Pamir region. Apologies for the long delay in reporting. Telecommunication is a challenge in this part of the world with limited access to adaequate phone and internet-connections. So here's a quick and dirty update on our last 10 days.
We had to wait in Dushanbe for three long days to catch our flight to Khorog; this flight (in an old Russian Antolov plane) only departs when the weather on the route is clear and if there are enough passengers to fill it. Last Saturday, all conditions were met and we boarded with high expectations. Forget security announcements, safety belts or turned off cell phones. These pilots have other fish to fry !
The flight goes through amazing mountain areas, over high snow covered tops and through narrow canyons but the sights are spectacular and rewarding; we never had such cool (literally!) flight in our lives ! Excited to finally arrive in Khorog, the place where we will be staying for another eleven months.
Picked up at the airport by our new employers, who kindly showed us around to select a place to live; turned out harder than we thought after a long day; we decided on a home, which was highly recommended by an earlier volunteer and which could house three persons easily (we are with one other volunteer here).
Not entirely satisfied, we kept on looking and we have now found a nice place along the river with a little court yard where we will move to this weekend.
We spent the remainder of the weekend touring (by foot) this very photogenetic village with its amazing back drop of mountains and glaciers. The weather has been very pleasant yet so far (seventies during the days) although the nights are cold and the long johns necessary for our Southern Californian bones (there was ice on the streets yesterday morning, compare the climate with a Swiss mountain village).
On Monday, it was our first day at the office with meetings, introductions, formalities such as lunches etcetera.
Today is Thursday and we have desks, computers, new e-mail addresses and piles of files to go through and to work on. Colleagues are very pleasant and highly appreciate our efforts to share some of our skills.
Christine is not looking forward to the winter, which can start every day but which could also show up in late December so there is hope. We are in an East West facing Valley so we see the sun early in the mornings and late in the afternoon, when it sets, a big bonus.  Jelte has a beautiful office in the local park (called Central Park, no joke but a little bit smaller) so feels right at home. Pictures and more details later.

Comments

  1. So glad to read your update & to see that you've arrived in Khorog! It sounds like things are going really well so far which makes me happy to hear.

    And after reading about this photogenic village you MUST share some pictures! When you can :)

    Looking forward to the next update...

    (Is the other volunteer you'll be living with R from SKWID? If so please tell him I say 'hello!')

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Christine and Jelte. I am anxiously following your adventures....a bit envious. Looking forward to seeing some of your pictures soon.

    Good luck and most important....have fun.

    Cheers,
    Jan

    ReplyDelete
  3. hello guys. finally got into your blog. looks like you are really happy and the place looks super interesting. keep posting pictures!
    miss you and keep smiling.
    love annette

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Cross Border Markets and our First Tajik Wedding

It's Friday afternoon, 4:30 pm and a colleague mentions, by-the-way,  that Monday is a holiday as Constitution day falls on Saturday, 6th November.  A long week-end with places to go and things to see!!  To hell with a two week pile of unwashed clothes!   Here in Khorog, every Saturday morning  there is a cross-border market, which is the closest we can get to actually visiting Afghanistan.  
At 10 am Jelte, Rod and I hail a 'cab' and for the price of  just one Somoni each (the equivalent of 30c or 20p) we share a 'golf cart' - commonly known as a Chinese van - with 4 other passengers to take us to the site of the cross-border market.  When we arrive, things are just beginning to come alive.  
We wander around the few stalls of fruits and clothes and odds and ends. Jelte and Rod sit down to breakfast of 'choi' and bread with Halva. Christine is too busy watching one of the stall owners cook 'pilav' on an open fire.   
Within half an hour the mark…

A Presidential visit

For the past few months, Khorog residents have been busy repaving roads, completing unfinished buildings, walls, park boundaries.  We’ve never seen such frantic activity, nor Khorog looking so ... spruced.  President Rahmon is on his rounds... he’s visited Penjikent, ........ and now it’s the turn of the capital of the Pamirs.  The response to this ‘State Visit’ is mixed.   Some people shrug their shoulders in resignation, others plan what they are going to wear and how they can finagle a ‘ring side seat’ for this parade.   And us?  We’re going fishing.  Well, we might wait until the weekend, when all the fuss is over.
On his visit, the President opened the new Lycee, a gymnasium, amongst other notable activities.  The speechifying took place in Central Park, and of course, no-one but invited guests were able to get anywhere near the area.  The PECTA office, located in the Park, just yards from the centre of activity, was closed for the day.  No access.  Jelte did try to get in via an…

Reality Bites

Finally, I suppose it's time to talk about the weather here. Since arriving in Khorog, we have had just one day of rain... every other day has been filled with startling blue skies and sunshine. But, as the days draw shorter, the sun struggles to show its face over the mountain-tops. Which means that most of the valley sits in the shade until 10am. So, progressively, the edges of the river have started freezing and our daily walk across the wooden suspension bridge is a little more slippery. As Jelte mentioned, two weeks ago we took a trip to Roshan, Darwaz and the Gisev valley. It was pretty cool. This last week, we took a trip to Ishkashim; it was COLD. Both of us are eternally grateful to my sister Paula for guiding us through the necessities of cold weather gear. I know that our thin California blood would not have made it thus far without our thermals and countless other layers. The only items that we have still to get good use out of are our balaclavas and we hope they will …