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Dancing in Two Places

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Stories from Tajikistan

In May 2022, I joined a group of Trekkup travellers to explore the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan. I hadn't looked closely at a map before the trip to realize that we would spend more than four days on a roadtrip along the Afghanistan border. Our naiveté prompted a lot of questions about this borderland to our Tajik guide, Saidbeck, who patiently answered them as we traversed the border villages and met welcoming families at our home stays.

Our route took us along the Panj River – where we had a better view of Afghan villages surrounded by green fields and trees; irrigated by the natural streams and rivers that emptied mountain snow into the Panj, than what actually laid inside borders of Tajikistan. These villages were oasises amidst the barren foothills exposed and dusty without their winter white snow.

From Tajikistan, we looked across the Panj River into Afghanistan.

We took a break near a rock that stood out, high over the River. From this point we could see a beautiful village and snowcapped peaks towering overhead, but the true beauty of this roadside rest area was evident when we looked down: at the bottom of the valley, scrambling on the rocks were a colorful group of boys playing near the water. They were dressed in vibrant colors that punctuated the landscape. And they spotted us too. In a grand gesture to connect, these boys mimicked the movements we made from our perch above the river. We waved. We shared simple funny moves and shapes with our arms and legs. We twirled our jackets and scarves. We laughed. We connected.

Can you spot the seven Afghani boys playing on the rocks by the Panj River?

Somehow across a raging river, cutting through the wind, without words, or clear sight of each other we shared a human moment. I don't think anyone in our group will quickly forget this brief exchange across the border. I wonder if it's something that will stick in the minds of those boys, too.


The trip to Tajikistan in May 2022 was booked through Trekkup Dubai. This blog is not sponsored.

© 2022 Andrea Rip | The Earth Ink. All rights reserved.

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