In the fall of 2003 Jane Cooper took a job with an international non-government organization in Tajikistan. She spent the first two months working in the Pamir mountains, living in a small traditional Pamiri house, in the remote town of Khorog on the Tajik-Afghan border. Jane then moved to the capital city of Dushanbe for the remaining 22 months, living in a rented a house within a walled family compound on the edge of the city centre, where she slowly insinuated myself into Tajik family life.
This travelogue is a series of vignettes describing life in this corner of the former Soviet Union, written originally for a community newspaper based in Eastern Ontario, Canada – The Winchester Press.
It is over five years since Jane completed her assignment in Tajikistan, and while many things have changed, many others remain the same. On the surface the economy in Dushanbe looks richer in 2011, but the reality of life for the poor is little better than it was in 2005 and many of the observations here will ring true with travelers and development workers in Central Asia today.