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Maryam the Wakhi
There are approximately 85,000 Wakhi people, living mostly in northern Pakistan, west of China, north-eastern Afghanistan and south-eastern Tajikistan. Speaking wakhi, their own language, they belong mostly to the Ismailia community. Today, in one of the remote Pakistani valleys near Afghanistan, Maryam is getting dressed for her traditional Wakhi wedding. At the top of the frame in the background, the Ismailia spiritual leader looks as if he is blessing her. Beliefs remain strong but traditions are evolving in the valley. Wakhi people have often praised the high education rate in the community, which probably has allowed Maryam and her future husband, from the new generation, to choose each other. The short ceremony will start soon at the Jamatkhana, the place of worship. While the restricted ceremony takes place, children will carry on the tradition by hiding the groom‘s shoes. A few rupees will be enough to get them back!