Travelling through Tajikistan to Afghanistan this summer whilst leading an expedition for Secret Compass, our journey was halted on the second day when landslides destroyed the road. There was no alternative route, so only one thing to do: Wait.
We were an expedition team of 18, made up of 14 expedition team members and 4 local drivers. Despite this a local family found the space for us to stay and rustled up food. With each meal we were served plate after plate of apricots and mulberries from the family’s fruit trees.
Whilst waiting, myself and the team watched the road repairs and explored the village, which was typical of those found in Tajikistan. A Chinese team of road engineers arrived, looking efficient with hard hats and walkie talkies, and they directed bulldozers to clear debris and level each end of the road so they could meet and be connected. It was quite an operation.
I wandered through the village and got invited in for tea, meeting the local doctor who was also having tea with this family. I watched the family go about there daily routine. The washing up was done, a chicken was dispatched for lunch and a young girl scooped up 9 boisterous puppies two at a time. As round as barrels, the puppies rolled from one mischievous act to another. The girl allowed me to take a photo of her with one of the pups as she prevented him from taking a swim in the washing up bowl.
After 30 hours of waiting the culvert for the road had arrived and was quickly put in place to complete the temporary road. After our inactivity and acceptance of the situation, we changed a gear and frantically re-packed the vehicles, said rushed goodbyes, and our impromptu village stay in Tajikistan was abruptly over.
The rest of the expedition through Tajikistan and Afghanistan was not without transport, route and road difficulties, of which I reminded myself and the team that sometimes when travelling, the unexpected encounters, the enforced stops and the changes of plan create the richest experiences.