Final Days: Dushanbe Two-Day Summary

Hello all from back in America! I realize I haven’t posted another Dushanbe summary since August 15, so that means all you lovely folks haven’t heard about our last two days in the capital of Tajikistan.

On Saturday, we all went to the Photojournalism Exhibition in the American Corner in Dushanbe. The American Corner is a place where the Tajiks come to learn English and (I have to assume) American customs. The Photojournalism Exhibition started out with some small speeches from the U.S. and Pakistan ambassadors, and then teachers and coordinators gave presentations similar to the ones at the workshop the day before. After that, there was a ribbon-cutting event to open all the photos, and I was one of the lucky few who got to help the ambassador cut the ribbon. The Exhibition concluded with some presentations about the food in Pakistan, Tajikistan, and the U.S. and finally an American lunch: a burger, fries, and a piece of fried chicken.

After we’d gone back to the hotel to have a quick break, Team USA headed out to a shopping center to buy some souvenirs. If you’re picturing a mall, I’ll tell you it certainly wasn’t like any American mall I’ve ever been to. It was essentially a large market indoors and crammed onto three levels of a building. All the shops were very packed in close, and there was so much stuff in one area that it took us a while to get through it all.

That night was Culture Night, which was an opportunity for everyone to share traditions and dances from their home countries. If you want a more detailed description, check out the blog post here.

The next day, we got up bright and early (or tried to) to drive out to Vahdat. The Vahdat District is a much more undeveloped area in Tajikistan where we got to see some of the farms. We saw many different foods being grown and made, and there was so much that I won’t go into it here. Check out the full description at this link. It ended with a lunch of Oshi Palav, a traditional Tajik dish. We even ate it sitting on mats on the floor as well. This was a very full and exciting day.

The journey home was long and fairly uneventful, what with most of us being too tired to really think much or do anything other than sit in our lovely Turkish Air seats. All in all, the trip to Tajikistan was a very fun and enlightening experience.

Firuz translates for the U.S. Ambassador as she gives an opening speech
Firuz translates for the U.S. Ambassador as she gives an opening speech
A small preview of the craziness of Culture Night
A small preview of the craziness of Culture Night
One of the paths through a crop field in the Vahdat District
One of the paths through a crop field in the Vahdat District