Berrypaloza

There are many excellent things about summer in Dushanbe. The Embassy pool is open, the weather is hot, CLO trips are planned to Iskanderkul, Khujand, and Nurek. It’s easy to get excited about life here.

This is our first and really only full summer in Tajikistan. Last year when we arrived in August it was the tail end of the summer fruit season, and by the time my stuff arrived I had time to can and preserve only a few small batches of jam that I knew would never last the winter.

This year, I’m taking full advantage of Berrypaloza.

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I’d heard from several ladies in my neighborhood that they have women who come door-to-door selling berries. That’s the best way to buy them. They are the freshest and best priced straight from these women who pick them. Β Strawberries and raspberries are in right now and I was dying to get my hands on some.

Unfortunately, when the first lady came to the door a few weeks ago selling strawberries Sean shooed her away. I half-jokingly told him to chase her down. I was concerned that one rejection would mark our house as a “no-go”Β for the entire season and I’d be forced to buy sub-par fruit from the markets or grocery stores.

Then, last Friday morning, our luck changed. I was upstairs and didn’t even hear the bell ring. The only way I knew something was going on was Izzie’s barking. When I came down Sean proudly presented me with an eight-quart pot full of raspberries. I gleefully rinsed them off and made us about 30 minutes late for work.

Our “berry lady” as I affectionately call her has returned twice since then. My fridge, freezer, and jam jars are filled with strawberries, sweet and sour cherries, and raspberries. We have a terrible time communicating with her since she only speaks Tajik. Even Sean’s excellent Russian barely makes an impression.

Luckily, everyone speaks miming, pointing, and money exchanging.

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