Northern Tajikistan

Flood Turned Cropped

It’s still light outside, the worst of the winter cold is behind you and the days are getting longer. There had even been a few sprinkles of rain earlier. That must mean spring isn’t far away. Those few drops of water were so unusual on this arid steppe, you stood outside hoping to get wet. But as soon as you felt their impact the dry air evaporated them.

Here comes Maftoon, a spunky nine year old girl to tell you dinner is ready. She sees you standing outside your room, glances at the entrance gate, turns around and runs back inside. That was unusual, even for her. A moment later, she reappears at a run, followed by her older brother.

In the corner of your eye, you see water gushing up under the metal entrance gates. You follow the children to a spot where you can peer over the compound wall and look into the alley. It’s turned into a fast flowing river! You stand there watching while her older brother explains this amazing sight. This is rain that had poured off the hills. It’s a flash flood. It’s rare, but it happens here.

Excerpt from the novel, Lenin’s Arm.

Khleed points to the village still below us, but there’s no need, we’re already staring at a wide swath of broken rock that has cut through half of the village compounds. The houses to the far side of the hundred-yard-wide river of broken stone look to be intact.

   “Avalanche,” Khleed says. “Look at the rock faces above that section. They’re a lighter, cleaner color. Last year, many families died here.”

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