Photographer's Note

On the way back from Sarhad to Eshkashim we stopped for lunch in a guesthouse adjacent to this house. I had enough time to capture a few more photos of Wakhan life.

It was in this house (I have written about this before so apologies to those who remember for repeating myself) where I got asked if I had any pills for “bad stomach” as one of the ladies in the village was not well. I shared my remaining Loperamide 50-50, keeping two tablets for myself, leaving two for the unfortunate local woman. I was going back to Tajikistan two days later so I didn’t desperately need it. People in Wakhan have very little access to medical help. According to Wikipedia, in 2006 60% of the population of Afghanistan lived within a 2-hour walk of the nearest health facility. Unfortunately, the reality in Wakhan is much less rosy. I suggested that, if the medication did not bring the desired relief within a couple of days the lady in question should obtain medical advice…

“It’s not possible”, said my guide Azim. “The nearest doctor is in Eshkashim, 2 days’ drive from here.”
“Well”, insisted I, a naïve European. “If the symptoms persist she will have to go, otherwise her condition may turn out to be life-threatening.”
“It’s not possible”, repeated Azim with his usual patience while explaining the realities of everyday life in Afghanistan to me. “Women cannot travel on their own, she would have to be accompanied by her husband. And her husband is busy ploughing the field and looking after the animals”.

I, myself, had been experiencing symptoms of acute food poisoning for over 24 hours and the very thought of food felt painful. I still ate a bit of the meal offered to me in Qazideh, just enough not to offend my hosts. The following evening we reached Eshkashim where I enjoyed the luxury of being served food in my room (as I was the only guest so it was not worth opening the dining room just for me). I rearranged the food on the tray and didn’t eat any of it. Later on, I fainted on the way to the bathroom, came round when falling, limped back to my room. I was glad nobody noticed. I wasn’t sure I would like to be examined by that local doctor. In the morning I didn’t eat any of the breakfast and left for Tajikistan. As I reached Dushanbe, after 36 hours of tea-only diet, I started feeling better.

So this is the story of my last couple of days in Afghanistan. I would like to be able to tell you the story of the lady from Qazideh who was also feeling unwell at the time. But I’m afraid “it’s not possible”.

This is my last post from Afghanistan. I will upload 2 more photos in WS.

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Additional Photos by Kasia Nowak (kasianowak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1692 W: 9 N: 3499] (17676)
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