Storing fuel in Karakul (3)

Marjolein Katsma

Groningen, Netherlands

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Artist's Description

Share this page Photo © 2009 Marjolein Katsma | Text © 2012 Marjolein Katsma


Tags for this photograph:
karakul, kara kul, qaraqul, murghab, murghob, gorno badakhshan, tajikistan, pamirs, wall, plaster, plastered, roof, flat roof, shrub, kindling


While dung turves and dung patties make good fuel, you cannot directly make it into a fire. You’ll need tinder and kindling as well. Dry grass or a few scraps of paper can be used for tinder, and the kindling is simply gathered:

In the mountains surrounding Karakul and Lake Karakul a small, woody shrub grows – little tufts of them, they do not cover the ground. The dead dry plants are excellent kindling. Karakul sits just to the west of the no-man’s land area around the Tajik-Chinese border, but people living here have permission to go into that area to graze their livestock or gather fuel. And thus they do – by the truckful! The gathered kindling (a whole truckful may be for several families) is then stored in a yard or on top of a roof – like here.

Obviously, this building is not a house: there’s no window, and the bit of wall above the door seems about to topple down… It’s not as though that kindling is so heavy, but when a wall isn’t repaired after the snow melts. damage like this can happen…

Note also the beams sticking out of the wall: a sure sign of a flat roof. They’re thin (wood is scarce), but used vertically to maximize load-bearing capacity.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1


Artwork Comments

  • Gavin Kerslake
  • Marjolein Katsma
  • Cecily  Graham
  • Marjolein Katsma
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