Most of my friends in Tajikistan come from Pamir mountains and I was grateful to learn about their beautiful respectful culture and learn many life tips from them as well.
Shirchay (shirchoy) – a drink that every Pamir inhabitant has for breakfast. It is milk boiled with tea leaves, with a pinch of salt and a slice of butter. If you don’t drink shirchoy for breakfast, locals will start questioning if you really belong to this area.
Diversity – here they celebrate diversity and speak different languages, but all proudly call themselves Pamir people. Everyone in Pamir mountains in Tajikistan can speak at least one or two local languages, Tajik and most likely Russian. They can also understand Persian as it is close to Tajik and can communicate with the neighbouring Afghan people who speak the same languages and are basically no different from Tajik Pamiri people.
Freedom – Pamir people are free from prejudice and treat every human being as a human being. When we were in one local restaurant and a Russian army general showed up, drunk, asking to be respectfully treated as a real general, the grandpa who was running the restaurant said he was the general in his restaurant and it was to be respected. No one looks up to generals here, but humanity and humility are most appreciated.
Praying home – most people in Pamir are Ismaili, it is a branch of Islam which follows the heir of the Prophet Muhammad, as they believe. Aga Khan, the heir, is their spiritual leader and is given the role of explaining the Quran and being a living role model for all Ismailis. They do not have mosques as other Muslims, but get together to pray at a praying home, and each member of the community will guide the prayers and ceremonies in turn. Sometimes when there is no praying home in small villages, community will gather for prayers in different homes each Friday, and everyone will host in turns.
Everything I learnt about Pamir and the people here comes from conversations with friends and locals and may not depict reality clearly or fully. There is much more to explore and enjoy in beautiful Pamir.