Photographer's Note

In terms of quality, this is not the best of my travel photos. It was getting dark and the shot was taken from a moving vehicle on a bumpy road. I’m amazed you can see anything at all!

These women stepped out of their house probably because they had heard the sound of an approaching motor vehicle. There is no traffic to speak of in those roads so I assume every car must be an event worth checking out. This is the village of Wardi. More a hamlet than a village but it proudly features on the small map of Wakhan my guide and I shared during the trip.

Note the hats the two elderly ladies on the right are wearing. We are in the Ismaili territory. Ismailism is a branch of Shia Islam, more liberal than the all-embracing stereotype of the Muslim religion people have in the West. The biggest difference, from my personal point of view, is that women are not required to wear headscarves. They do in villages though, which, in Afghan Wakhan, means practically everywhere. However, even in Afghanistan, you will not see an Ismaili woman wear a burka. Ismaili people don’t pray in mosques, they make offerings (such as colourful pieces of cloth) at small shrines scattered along the road. I’ll post photos of two of those in WS. I’ve also heard rumours (denied point-blank by the imams) that Ismaili people produce and drink alcohol. I’ve never been in a position to confirm that though.

It was not my first encounter with the Ismaili culture. Three years earlier I met and stayed with Ismaili people in northern Pakistan while travelling along the Karakoram Highway.

Now… A couple of weeks ago I uploaded another photo from the road and included a link to a youtube video. A few of my TE friends complained it was only 18 seconds long (I had expected that even that would be too long and you would be terribly bored but I was obviously wrong). So, by popular demand… here is another, much longer one:

For explanation what is going on in this little movie, please see the note to this image:

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Additional Photos by Kasia Nowak (kasianowak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1647 W: 9 N: 3369] (17250)
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