day 24: Aga Khan

IMG_3668Since the Pamir Highway is blocked, there is a detour via the Wakhan Valley, one part is in Tajikistan, the other part in Afghanistan.

The roads are bad, the mountains are high and dry. There is only about 10,000 people living in the area. School, money and education is rare. It´s an open secret that opium from Afghanistan finds its way out of the country through this region.

The people follow the Ismaili Islam, a very liberal and often gnostic form of Islam. Ismailis don´t have mosques but prayer halls, where also women pray and often praying ceremonies are opened with a woman singing. Strange enough: In the Wakhan valley – and the rest of the Pamirs – you will find a lot people speaking english, more than in other regions of the country. Thanks to the Aga Khan Foundation, who puts a lot of money in the education of the Pamiris and Wakhanis. The Aga Khan is somewhat like the pope of the Ismailis. Born in Switzerland, he is one of the richest men in the world. He´s supposed to have about 10 billion Euro. The Aga Khan Foundation is the biggest private development organization of the world.

Thank you, Aga Khan, I would´t find my way through this region without the help of english speaking Ismailis!

About Michaela Krimmer

35, anthropologist, Austrian, female

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