There are millions of local characters with fascinating stories to share and Intrepid’s Efrat Margalit loved getting to know one young man from Uzbekistan…
“Muzafar’s parents were born in Iran. Muzafar (a.k.a Raza) was born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Like any other Uzbek guy in his early twenties, Raza wanted to get married. In order to find a good wife from a well-respected family, Raza had to have some property and money to offer. For the first time in his life he left his family and Samarkand behind and followed many other Uzbek men to Dubai in search of fortune.
Adjusting to live in Dubai was very difficult and Raza almost gave up on everything and returned home. But he believed that studying English would make many things easier and help secure his future. So he took a 6-month English course and started working as a taxi driver. After a few months he managed to buy his own taxi. At the end of 5 years in Dubai, Raza bought a 15-seat van and started his way back to his hometown of Samarkand.
After a long time driving from Dubai to Uzbekistan, after having to stay in Iran for 2 months and having to deal with loads of problems getting into other countries on the way, Raza finally arrived back home. With his new car and status in the local community, Raza’s family found a good match. He got married as he wanted to so much and he and his wife have since had their gorgeous first child.
Raza is loving being back in Samarkand. Being able to speak Uzbek, Farsi, Arabic, Russian and English, he’s making a good living from driving tourists in his van, and meeting Raza is a special opportunity for Intrepid travellers. Finding out about the lives of local people and appreciating their customs and traditions brings about mutual respect. I see that in all of my Intrepid groups and I’m happy and thankful that I had the chance to meet such a wonderful person in Uzbekistan!”
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* photo by Anne Frigon – Intrepid Photography Competition