This week is now coming to an end, study wise, and it has really been an inspiring one. It has arisen some strange longing for the sight of poppy fields, mountains, and mosques and a curiosity for Georgian drinking habits.
This Monday Mikael Åhlin had us for a full-day lecture about Tajikistan; about geography, regional politics, opium smuggling and everything else you might ever want to know about the small but all so exciting and, I must say, exotic country. Everything mixed up with stories from his own travels in the country. We had Mikael’s friend, the internet service provider Aslibdin Kiyamov in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on Skype and talked about the situation for young Tajiks today.
This really inspired me and got me an idea for my field studies. Now I’m beginning to think about doing something connected to young married couples in Tajikistan, the clash between a very traditional society with a strict view on marriage and sex and with strong family ties and on the other hand globalisation and western influence. Hopes, expectations, that sort of thing.
The week continued with a lesson with Karina Vamling from Malmö Högskola about the geography and ethnic groups of Caucasus and Central Asia. Not as inspiring perhaps but it really sorted out some of the confusions concerning which ‘-stan’ is which and with really cute pictures from the area.
The day after, on Wednsday, we all sat down to listen to the girls who had just come back from Georgia. They had been on the school’s internship programme and were stationed in Zugdidi in western Georgia. They told us about the work they had been doing there, mostly with young people, and all the quirkiness of the region, like the fact that some buildings suddenly just fall down. The fact that the war in Georgia is so resent makes the already interesting region even more interesting. If I’m able to I would really like to meet some of all the IDP’s from Abkhazia and hear their stories of living in exile in their own country. I can’t believe we’re going there in spring and will be able to experience all of t for ourselves. The Georgian way of having a dinner party (the zupran) and holding toasts is another phenomenon I’m sure Ove finds important to share with us.
This week made the field studies feel closer in time and the countries we have been making references to all autumn feel more real. We’re really doing this.