Majestic nature, welcoming people and dangerous roads

Colourful culture, delicious plov, juicy apricots and sweet mulberries. In 2019, Solveiga Kaļva went back to Avj, a tiny village set in the mountainous Pamir region of Tajikistan where she had spent three months volunteering and living together with a local family back in 2017. She returned for two more months to interview the locals about their lives and memories. What does the village mean to them? What are the most important places in Avj to them? What legends travel around? While each inhabitant portrays the village in a way, the village is a portrait of its inhabitants.

Here we invite you to get aquainted with some of Avj’s inhabitants. Meet Hadicha Davlatmamadova, Dr. Shirinbek Davlatmamadov, Zevar Davlatmamadova, Gulru Qalandarova, Salim Ibroimov, Soyabegim Goibnazarova, and Bahtbegim (Bahti) Shirinbekova.

Solveiga Kaļva is a freelance writer and photographer from Riga, Latvia. She is a graduate of the Folkloristics and Applied Heritage Studies Masters Program at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Solveiga is interested in the ways people perceive places, their relationship with places and how a place can portray community and individuals and vice versa. She runs the photo project Rīga detaļās, the travel website Piedzīvo, along with a photography website.