The next day we shouldered our smaller backpacks and set off on a 3-day trip to visit more of Rakhat’s relatives. They live in a farmhouse at the edge of the higher mountains.
We could also have driven the track by car, but we wanted to walk. First we walked through the village. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the air was clear and off we went.
Soon we had left the houses behind us and entered the vast barren landscape.
At first, the landscape looks like it is the same everywhere. But when you walk, you see many differences and encounter living creatures.
And then a little rider came riding up on a donkey with a dog.
Fortunately, the local dogs are not comparable to the Armenian herding dogs. They are very well-behaved animals that didn’t scare me. The boy rode up to us, accompanied us and had lunch with us. He has unusual grey eyes. Rakhat asked him a few questions. His parents released him from school for 2 days because they needed a shepherd. He is a vegetarian. There is an albino in his school, who is teased by the other children. Otherwise, he with the light eyes might have been the victim.
The boy then rode off again and we trudged on up the expanse. It was about 17 km and it looked flat, but it went steadily uphill and was thus a bit of a slog.
We met other horses
And also some farms could be seen
The snowy mountains didn’t really want to come closer
And then it appeared after all, the farm! Really the last house on the slope.
We went in and came to a) sit on cushions around a low table and b) be handed treats. Homemade bread, homemade blueberry compote, homemade cream. Delicious! Also a milk tea, prepared on a stove. In addition, an elderly woman beamed mischievously at us, always found something to laugh about and the atmosphere and smell and generally: almost like in Ladakh! It made me feel at home right away!
The 62-year-old Aitengül (or similar) lives here all year round with her husband, 2 sons and a hired shepherd. We were the first visitors for weeks. She had 7 sons, 1 died foolishly handling a shotgun, 4 have married elsewhere and only 2 are keen to stay here and run the livestock. But alas, a big problem plagues them: where are the wives and offspring? The search is on, but no young lady can be found who would like to live such a life. The younger one is the same age as Rakhat, the older one already 38. Both are quite handsome guys, friendly, hands-on and cheerful. But this bachelorhood and with it the uncertain future of the farm, that plagues her! She is slowly noticing her age and her husband has high blood pressure and is not so fit anymore either.
They have tons of sheep (each worth 2-400 USD), chickens, cows, horses, solar energy and a warm atmosphere. Only they didn’t like to be photographed. So out to the animals
The sheep dung is dried and pressed and used as fuel and as a base for the lambs, which are often a bit damp and need dryness to survive the cold nights.
And then I couldn’t tear myself away from a freshly born lamb and the observation of the mother licking it, losing her umbilical cord and the little one then soon standing up on its wobbly little legs and looking for the milk. Mum and baby got bands of the same colour – then you don’t get them mixed up.
Dinner, unfortunately, was my horror with fatty mutton, where I forced myself to politely eat something and then I got a little sick. The only difficult part of this visit.