Shing, Tajikistan

Finding a Family in Shing

A small tear formed in the corner of my eye as I stood in front of my host family, modeling the brightly colored traditional Tajik dress that Mavzuna and Ganjina spent much of the previous day making for me. “Ochen kraseevaya,” they exclaimed with excitement. “Tajik devushka,” proclaimed my host mother Mouhayo with huge smile …

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Shing, Tajikistan

Village Life in Tajikistan

Growing up in middle class America, I take a lot of things for granted. I freak out if a thunderstorm knocks out power for even a few hours and heaven forbid I lose my internet connection at home.  I have never known life without indoor plumbing and driving on dirt roads has never been part …

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Dushanbe, Tajikistan

My First 16 Hours in Tajikistan

The first thing I noticed as I waited in the departure lounge in Istanbul to board my flight to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, was the fact that I was surrounded by people speaking English. Americans, British, Swiss – you name it, everywhere I turned were government and nonprofit workers headed to Tajikistan. Aside from …

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Chasing Down Visas in Baku

Upon arriving in Baku, Azerbaijan, my first mission was seemingly simple: head to the embassies of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to apply for my visas to both countries. Easy, right?   Not so much.   Both embassies are located outside of the center of the city, off the Badamdar Highway. The addresses themselves were weird, with …

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