Hello my friends
I was going to keep my blogs to once a month, but sometimes things happen that I want to share with you and today was one of those days. July 8 is national disability day in Tajikistan, so my project had arranged an open day for people to come and see the work of the project and to meet some of the clients and their families. I am still not sure how things are planned and organised, but I increasingly have faith that on the day it will all happen - today was such a day.
The event took place in Sabohat's house in the Dusti Jamoat, which is in the Vahdat district. Sabohat is a total inspiration and motivating force, she has been influential in making this project happen and now uses one of the large rooms in her house as a sewing workshop for local girls with disability. She is also nurse, a mother, a gardener and wife - I just don't know how she fits everything in and remains calm and industrious. The great and the good had been invited to the event, together with the local community as it is a small village.
We left Duchanbe at eight, it was 31 degrees and would get much hotter. When we arrived we were greeted by a tiered plate of sweet bread and salt, the traditional greeting at such events. Sabohat's garden looked fabulous, so many things to see and so many colours. Embroidery, jewellery, pottery, wooden carved items, preserved fruit, different breads and long tables full of food for all the guests. I hope the pictures will give a better sense of the scene than my prose.
There were formal speeches, but most importantly a speech by a little boy of six, who has made a lot of progress since joining the project. Not only did he talk about how pleased he was to see his social worker and thanked her for the help she has given him, but later could tell me 'my name is ....' in English. We all watched a puppet show that was great fun and then we were entertained by a musician playing a keyboard and singing Tajik songs. Immediately the Tajik people will dance, together with the children. I was strongly encouraged to join in and had a great time being entertained by the children and the social workers, they are such a joy to be with.
By 12 we had all been fed, watered (tea'ed) entertained and having a sense of how important this work is to people who have otherwise been abandoned to cope in isolation. I just hope that the representative from the EU, who approves the funding, went away with a sense of the difference that has already been made and could continue to be made in the future. It was such a joyous event, it must have taken a lot of preparation and time to put it on, but the staff all helped and they did a really good job.
Do have a look at the pictures and also the pictures of my visit to Hizor and the archaeological site last weekend. Both are sites of special spiritual importance for different reasons, but it is the reason why newly married couples come to the fort to be blessed. There are many weddings in Tajikistan every week and people choose different places to visit as part of the process.
Bad news is that my stomach is just about holding up - or not - so tomorrow I am going to visit the doctor to try and knock out the bug that is happily sitting in my intestines and causing pain on a regular basis - give me the antibiotics!!!!!!
More soon, keep well.