Last summer I worked as one of four interns in the Khorog office of Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), situated in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). As an Ismaili of East African background, I had little knowledge of Central Asian culture or the Nasir Khusraw tradition of the Jamat. I saw my visit as an opportunity to experience the country and to open my eyes to an ancient culture that characterises the Ismaili community in the region.
Dominated by the Pamir mountain range, GBAO is stunningly beautiful. Majestic peaks are outlined against a sky that alternates between bright blue in the day and a star-studded pitch black at night. The Pamiri family that hosted me and my fellow interns provided more than a house to live in — they made us feel at home. They spent time teaching us their local language of Shughni, invited us along when they ran errands and took us to Imamat Day celebrations. They truly integrated us into their lives and community.
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