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Nar Begum - Shimshal
Nar Begum is one of the oldest shepherds still to reach the high plateaus of Shimshal Pamir. Away from her village for 5 months at a time, she moves to the summer pastures with her own animals as well as those of villagers who can no longer go up or who are busy doing other work. Life is rough up there in the stone huts. Wood does not exist at an altitude of 4500m and it is necessary to adapt to the acrid smoke emanating from the stove, which is essential to warm up after the wind blowing down from the glacier and to prepare very basic food. In this pure but hostile environment, the weather is capricious and the 4 seasons often play out in the same day. Social life is reduced to sparse interaction with the few shepherdesses who, like her, still go up for the grazing period, but pastoral activity and the early night leave little time for entertainment. Nar Begum plays on his wooden jaw harp for a few moments before whispering, "Some of my friends don't have good enough health to come, others have just gone forever. As for me, God knows!"