This is the cornfield of the student on the far right. These are all of my female students from one group. I visited every one of their houses and they were so excited to have their teacher in their home for the holiday. Each one made a special dish for me that is specifically Tajik. I was able to meet their mothers and talk with them through the students. I thanked their mothers for allowing them to study English in the Micro Access Scholarship program. Their mothers are very proud of their daughters and, even though I don't speak Tajik, their mothers seemed very cool and open minded and wanting their daughters to have a better future.
All of my students baked a cake and when I went to each of their houses they cut the cake for me. I ate so many sweets on Monday I thought I would go into diabetic shock! I ate other foods, too, such as galoobsee (stuffed peppers with meat inside), montoo (steamed dumplings with meat), and of course lots of bread.
This is the food that the families sent home with me. I can't imagine being able to eat ALL of it. The chickens will be well fed this Eid! The lady who cleans my hotel room saw all the bread in a bag and told me to eat it. I would literally have to eat bread morning, noon, and night, and for snacks for about 2 weeks to eat all of this food. I told the woman that I didn't want to get fat. She said that I wouldn't get fat. hmmmmm yeaaaaah okay. Anyway so I took some bread out and gave her the rest of it. She needs it a lot more than I do.
These are the wonderful Tajik women that I spent a lot of time with at the director's house. This was the fifth house I visited and I was so stuffed but I had to eat or they would be offended. Firdavs, the director, was the translator and these women wanted to know why I wasn't married. I told them that American women are interested more in a career first and then a family after that. These women were so impressed and happy that American women think about their future. They said that the future for a Tajik women in the Rasht Valley where they live is only to take care of the family and their husband. They said that the men beat them and demand that they bring them food and it was particularly difficult during Ramadan when their husbands were hungry and angry all the time. They were so thankful that I sat with them and I'll be returning soon so they can teach me how to cook Kolcha and other foods. I'm an American woman who is highly educated but I can't cook! Nevertheless I think a great exchange will happen between us. They will teach me how to cook and I'll teach them how to teach their children to think about the future of Tajikistan.