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The Wakhan: Fellowship of the Harvest
Photographer: Ira Jacob
Exhibit Title: The Wakhan: Fellowship of the Harvest
The Wakhan, stretching across a region of Tajikistan, Afghanistan and China, is in the middle of an industrial revolution. It's a merging point of imposing mountain ranges and friendly people.
Harvest in the Wakhan is a season of friendship. For centuries, the Wakhi used donkeys for threshing wheat, a seasonal task mixed with the fellowship of breaking bread and shared tea.
The efficiency of machines has found its way to the Wakhan. Families are beginning to use tractors and mechanical threshers. A family's weeks-long task can now be accomplished in a day or two. As a result, family and friends rely less on each other.
In a world where people like the Wakhi struggle to live, and travelers still yearn for the nostalgia of a time past, the real cultural change is in the fellowship of the harvest, the gathering of a people.
As machines replace man and beast, the greatest obstacle of this industrial revolution is not the strategy of harvest, but the community of harvest, and how to preserve cultural and community customs in the midst of change.
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