Posts Tagged With: Kanibadam

On the road

On the Road

Tajik university students performed The First Thanksgiving and Cinderella, sang American pop songs and danced to hip hop music to standing room only crowds of public school children around the Sugd District in March and early April.

Our friend Dildora Toshmatova taught a class on American Culture and Folklore at Khujand State University, Faculty of Foreign Languages, and the students prepared skits, musical numbers and audience participation activities that they took on the road. The class and theater production was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Khujand, the second largest city in the country, is the largest city in the northern district, the Sugd District.

Dildora developed her interest in US folk traditions and culture when she was able to study for a semester at Penn State Harrisburg on a US grant for “junior teachers” at Tajik universities.

The 90-minute production included two skits (The First Thanksgiving and Cinderella) as well as a performance of a medley of pop songs, a hip hop dance number, poetry recitations, and games and quizzes for the audience to participate in. Below you will find a video of the highlights, as well as the complete performances of the two musical numbers.

The students took the show on the road, performing at five schools in the area on Saturdays in March and April. Saturday is a regular school day in Tajikistan. The schools are comprehensive – elementary through high school. They included:

  •  March 3 — Rumon Village, B. Gafurov District, School No. 26
  • March 10 – Kistakuz Village, B. Gafurov District, School No. 5
  • March 17 – Kairakum School No. 1
  • March 31 – Patar Village, Kanibadam District, School No. 20
  • April 7 – Khujand School No. 24

In addition, the students gave a command performance to their teachers, deans and peers at Khujand State University on April  11, at which time they were given their certificates for completing the class and also the special gift of having the final exam for that class waived.

David and I were able to attend the performances in Kistakuz and Patar Village, and the photos and videos are from those performances. I was also able to be at the performance at the university.

Here is the highlight video of the performance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jqDDePiLiI

Here is the hip hop dance in its entirety.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV9kzrwpyzk

Here is Farzona’s solo in its entirety. This video may be blocked in the US and other countries because of copyright. An abbreviated version is below. Please let me know if you were able to access this video in the US.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fieLMvfTwtU

Here is the abbreviated version of Farzona’s solo. Please let me know if you were not able to access this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sg8ML3-Vwg

And last, here are some random photos and moments that I wanted to share in Before, During and After. The music is Joe Deranne’s Reel performed by De Dannan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__2R2ZvtQTA

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Off the Grid

Most Tajiks who live in cities have access to electricity and running water – some have it all day (barring outages), some have it for specific hours during the day, some have it for only a couple of hours a day. People living in towns and some of the larger villages usually have it for at least a couple of hours a day. But there are some, including those who live near towns, that do not have it at all. One such family is related to our friend Dildor, and when her student mobile theater group performed in Patar Village, next to the town of Kanibadam, her uncle graciously had the cast and guests [David, Rukiya (another Khujand State University English teacher) and me] come to their house for lunch after the performance.

Dildor’s uncle name is Alisher. He is often in Russia working because he can make more money there than in Tajikistan, but this means long separations from his family. Citizens of the former soviets of the Soviet Union, such as Tajikistan, can travel to and work in Russia without visas, and are a supply of cheap labor. His home is typically middle class, but without the amenities of electricity or running water.

Here is a “filmstrip” illustrating their house. The song is Apeainen by the Finnish group Kardemimmit. I took the photos and produced the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyNhst_ioHE

 

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Apricot Blossom Time

View from the school window in Patar Village, in the Kanibadam District: Apricot blossoms frame a window. Photo by Nancy

David writes about our stay in Tajikistan for his own email list. Sometimes I crib a thought or two, but this time I wanted to repost in its entirety. We both took the photographs. As to the writing, I put in the paragraphs. Otherwise, the following narrative is David’s. The photos follow.

Navruz really has ushered in the spring. For 35 miles or more along the road south of the Kairakum Reservoir, apricot trees are lavishly blooming in orchards that straddle the road and stretch down to the reservoir in the north and back sometimes almost to the mountains in the south. And they vie with each other like weeds for every patch of spare ground in the villages.

Dependent now on a water table fed by runoff from the mountains, in Soviet times, the trees were irrigated by means of electric pumping stations and miles and miles of concrete aqueducts. Now the aqueducts are broken and tumbled and the pumping stations frozen up with rust because there’s no longer enough electricity.

In every village and town, on both sides of every residential street, natural gas pipes with about a two-inch diameter run along the walls that enclose the houses. You can reach up about a foot or so over your head and touch them. They rest on metal struts secured to the ground. When the pipes reach an intersection, they bend up, cross the street and bend back down in a serious of right angles that provide a passageway for cars, vans, and busses. Smaller pipes diverge from these larger ones and run into each house along the street.

I wouldn’t call this delivery system safe because any vehicle could ram and destroy the supporting struts. And a suicidal vandal with a hammer and a match could unleash the furies. But in Soviet times it got the gas to where it needed to be, and I’ve seen on the Russian documentary channel the same system today in rural Russia. But now since the Uzbeks have closed the gas valves, the pipes scale and buckle and sunder and would need to be replaced from square one if the Tajiks and Uzbeks should ever strike a deal.

Thus as the wave of empire recedes, it leaves a technological jetsam and a cultural vacuum. So Hadrian’s Wall stands abandoned and crumbling at the high water mark of Roman expansion. And when Rome could no longer afford to maintain its legions in Britain, the Britons were abandoned to defend themselves against the pesky Picts as best they could.

And thus as economies wither, cultural beacons retreat from the far-flung corners they once illuminated and settle back toward the centers of contracting wealth and waning power from which they emerged. So the libraries of Khotan and Bukhara and a thousand others, past, present, and future, fall prey to the worms when taxation and ordered authority can no longer nourish them. So the flourishing entrepôts of the Silk Road vanished under the sands, and the empty shopping malls of northwest Ohio wax weedy and crooked as fingers are sacrificed to the cold when blood is needed at the heart.

Apricot orchards line the road, from the Kairakum Reservoir on the north to the mountains in the south. Photo by Nancy

Apricot blossoms, March 31, 2012, near Kanibadam, Tajikistan. Photo by Nancy

Apricot orchard near Kanibadam, Tajikistan on March 31, 2012. Photo by David.

Boys working in an apricot orchard along the road near Kanibadam, Tajikistan, on March 31, 2012. Photo by David.

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