He led the way to a square concrete house, which precariously perched on a hillside, surrounded by a pleasant verdant garden where a little metal gate lay ajar.
Three women were hard at work with chores round the back of the house.
A muddy crimson river swept through the valley below: the Panj, which marks the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
We snaked our way along the majestic Pamir Highway above the river’s crimson sleepy waters, glancing across to Afghanistan from the dusty windows of our 4x4.
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We later learned that this room was exclusively used to entertain guests.
I looked around at the thick brown and yellow carpet with chintzy floral motifs that covered the wooden floor planks and admired the garish designs of bright bananas and leafy plants with red fruits that decorated the cushions on the floor.
The eldest gently poured water out of a plastic bucket, which soon rose into a cloud of soapy foam and their mother, a heavy hipped woman, towered over them, intently scrutinising their work.We signalled to the driver to stop and offered him a lift.He clambered in, clutching a plastic folder to his chest.Her prominent features revealed a hooked nose, high cheekbones and dark almond shaped eyes as she greeted us with a warm smile and both hands held out.Her daughters followed suit and we were soon ushered into a tidy room with carpets carefully laid over the floor, while others hung pinned to the walls.A young boy – their son – sat cross-legged on the floor, yet when motioned to sit on the mat with us, he declined, too shy to sit with two foreign women. The mother, who couldn't speak a word of Russian, handed me a large photo. Moscow attracts scores of young Muslim men from all over the former Soviet republics, who leave their homeland in search for a better life and job opportunities in the bustling Russian capital. His chapped fingers were tightly wrapped around an out-dated mobile phone, which he gingerly rested on his lap.His rugged, stubble covered age-old skin was taut and burnished from the sun.As our car bumped its way along the potholed dirt track, I caught a glimpse of a lean figure walking ahead of us.His beige trousers were speckled with dirt, and a couple of bony feet protruded from a pair of worn leather sandals.