Shepherd whistle


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Shepherd whistle

During the summer season in Kyrgyzstan, herders go up to the jailoo, the high pastures, to graze their herds. They stay with their children for 6 months, living in their yurt, the traditional tent found among other nomadic people in Central Asia. I meet this shepherd on his horse, the traditional four-wheel drive vehicle, who invited me to stay with his family for the night. After his Asr prayer, he shows me tiny white spots on the top of a mountainside and tells me "This is my flock, look now!" He puts his fingers to his mouth and whistles once, loudly. His flock freezes suddenly and heads towards the encampment, rushing unstoppably down the mountain. The cows came back of their own accord, as they had been trained to do. Reassured, he invites me for a bowl of green tea, bread and kaymak in the tent, waiting for the herd to arrive. Convenient but not infallible, he will go and look for the last animals.

Camille Delbos

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