August 24, 2010

Village Visit

Even though you would not believe it, we live in a city. It is a medium sized Central Asian city. Our neighborhood is in the center, the big bazaar is 15 min walk away. But life in Central Asia is such that when we have a holiday outside the Central Asia, we politely decline offers that include living without electricity, running water and sitting toilet. We have had our deals of bucket carrying all the water into the house, camping in one warm room in mid winter and using candles to see what is cooking on the stove that is heated with a big rusty Russian propane bottle. We like it to be a bit of a luxury when we are vacationing.

Last week we went to visit some friends that live in a village. Their village is furthest I have been outside the city. I think it was about 40 minutes driving. I snapped some pictures while driving. In August the nature is brown and dry and dusty. The only thing green is the thorny bushes that no sheep, goat or cow will eat.

I cannot imagine what these sheep are eating there. But they wander around the hills during the day, and return to their homes at dusk.

There are some really pretty colors on the dry, dusty hills.

We were driving quite fast, trying to get to the village before it got too late. We passed this truck, and also that little van you see out there.

It is a looong road, but in a very good condition.

A lonely sheep up on the (say it with me:) brown, dry, dusty hill.

We had to stop at a police check point, so I had a chance to take couple of pictures of some village houses. Mud walls, lots of mud. But there is an electric line in this village!

More sheep on dry, dusty hills.

Finally here! Their house in in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by dry, dusty hills, made of mud.
(I am the lady wearing a pink dress and carrying my baby who is officially one year old and not a baby anymore). The children in the foreground came running from the neighbor's house to check and see the foreign guests.

This is the front of their house. There is one room that is used for sleeping in the cooler months, cooking, sitting and eating. Then there is the veranda (behind the picket fence), where they sleep in the summer. That's it. I cannot imagine how it feels in the winter, when it is cold and muddy and rainy outside.
The roof is made of sticks and mud and grass. When we arrived at their home, they were mixing mud and adding new layer on the roof. It had leaked during the last rain, leaving them looking for a dry spot to sleep in the room.

Our hostess washing dishes for the tablecloth on the veranda.

The closest neighbor is few hundred feet away.

Someone's unfinished mud house and couple of donkeys. There were lots of donkeys in there.

When the sheep come marching in...
This shepherd was riding a pretty white horse. You can only imagine the dust that was raised by dozens of little hooves.

The goats always look so perky with their horns and sharp yellow eyes.

Our friends have a donkey, and all the kids got to ride it many times. It was really fun! Just look at the donkey; it is overjoyed!

They also had a little kitty and all the kids got to hold it.

This watering hole is the only source of water in this area. The ONLY. There are no city water pipes. This water comes from a bitter spring, so it is not suitable for humans to drink. Luckily it is good enough for the animals, I cannot imagine what they would do without having water for all the animals. The villagers get their water from a truck that goes around and sells water to people.

They pay 40 cents for a container of water (yellow) which is a lot of money for them. This is not safe drinking water, it still needs to be boiled before it is drinkable.

The shepherd washing his vehicle. I love the expressions on the horse's face! He seems to really enjoy his evening bath.

I was looking around and feeling like I landed in an alien world. But the air was clear and nice, it was pretty quiet and peaceful out there, the main road being few hundred meters away.

The sunset was gorgeous.

Kitty was playing with my son... or rather...being played by my son.

The house had one little room with no floor on it. The host spread a tablecloth on the carpet that was set on the hard mud floor. We sat on little hand made mattresses, filled with white fluffy cotton. We drank tea and water that we brought with us, knowing that it was hard to find drinking water out there. There was one piece of furniture in the room: a small table with a shelf, where they stored dishes and some food items. Then they had a pile of mattresses neatly folded and covered by a blanket, and a wood/coal heater for winter. When it got dark, they got a solar lamp from the roof and hung it in the room. It gave a nice light and we could spend time together after the sunset.

After I got home, and we had put our kids into their beds, I went to my kitchen. It has a tile floor, electricity, water filter and two refrigerators. I turned on the lights and the AC to cut the evening heat, had some pop and potato chips (I am not famous for my healthy evening snacks). And I felt really weird for a while.


  1. Thankyou SO MUCH for this wonderful and aware-ness increasing report. I'm so grateful to hear and see this. It reminds me somehow of the southwest US. What a juxtaposition of ways of living. It makes me grateful that I can turn on my kitchen faucet and have safe and tasty drinking water.

  2. Thank you for reading this, Diane! Yes, the village life is very different...still it is somehow fascinating as a lifestyle for me. Most of Central Asians live in villages, around 70%.

  3. Kiitos Hennis, kun sain jakaa retken kuvina kanssanne! Teillä on ihmeellinen elämä!

  4. Anna, se on totta, että tämä on kyllä ihan eri maailma. Mutta ihmiset on ihmisiä :) Tulkaa käymään!


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