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Kids' Zone Kavitha Dispatch

Dancing Kurds and Hearty Feasts
April 22, 2000

The sun was shining, we were driving through the beautiful, green mountains of Kordestan in western Iran, our bus was filled with fresh produce and bread and even a live chicken; we were ready for the perfect picnic. Our new friends Atah and Atah (yup, they both have the same name!) had invited us to see what traditional Kurdish life is like. As we drove in to the town of Saghghez, we noticed that we had entered into a new culture. The men were wearing the baggy pants of Kurds. The women were not cloaked in black capes as in the rest of Iran; they dressed in bright and colorful clothes.

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Heading through the hills to the Kurdish villages
Caption
We made our way up the side of beautiful green mountains, which were just coming to life after winter. The air was crisp and clean, and the rivers were rushing from the snowmelt off the mountaintops. The land was beautiful. Every half hour or so we would pass a girl herding a flock of sheep, or an old man tending to a newly planted field of wheat.

We passed a small village on our right, and Atah asked Samat to stop the bus. He got out and started talking to a man who was walking by, and the next thing we knew, we were unpacking the bus. We had been invited to have lunch in this village called Talajar!

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The children of Talajar take time to strike a pose
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Talajar, like all the other villages we had passed along the way, was built on the side of the mountain overlooking the river below. The houses were made of mud and wood and had dirt roofs that looked like the ground. Within minutes, little faces of boys and girls were popping up over the rooftops, as everyone gathered to see who the strange visitors were that had just arrived.

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Our new friends from Talajar gave us a smile.
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What caught our attention the most was the beautiful clothing of the Kurdish women. The shimmery, glittery, fabrics and colorful patterns were such a contrast to the normal dark attire of Iranian women. Kurdish women still "cover up" in accordance with Iranian law, but they do it their own way...in bright scarves and flashy clothes!

The homes in Talajar are multi-level, built so that the roofs of one level of homes are the ground level for the next level of homes. The kitchens all have pits in the center of the floor were a fire is lit, and flat bread is made by sticking it to the sides of the pit. The bottom level of most homes is for the sheep and goats. All of the houses in Talajar had electricity, but we didn't see any television sets or refrigerators, only lights and radios. The village also has running water, but most houses have taps outside the homes, near the outhouses.

Everywhere we walked we would see bright colors whiz past as shy girls ran here and there sneaking a peak at the Americans who had arrived. That's when I realized, that we were probably the first foreigners who had ever came through and visited this village, what a strange sight we must have been!

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Don't we look just like locals of Talajar?!
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After lunch we walked through the village a little bit more, but this time people were starting to feel a bit more comfortable with us. Kids ran up and asked us to take pictures with them. Other families invited us in to see their homes and have tea. People were so friendly, even though we were complete strangers.

Vocabulary

cloaked - wearing a loose outer garment

Finally after saying thank you and goodbye over and over again to our wonderful hosts, we loaded up our bus and started to drive away. We had such a wonderful day with our new friends at Talajar.

Kavitha

p.s. - Please e-mail me at ...kavitharao@bigfoot.com
 

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