Wandering Hijazi, by Sara Kulsoom

Yesterday I was doubtful.  Today I am grateful. As for tomorrow I am hopeful. 

I was doubtful because of the negative image many people painted of Uzbekistan, whether it be people I knew personally or some blogs and articles I read online. There were various accusations and speculations that were being thrown around in the hopes to stop me from going by friends and family as they ‘feared for my safety.’ Unfortunately for them it did not work and the only thing I was scared of in the end was how I was going to cope in 40 degrees Celsius. That is not to say I didn’t have my doubts, for instance we were told before setting off that we must not openly discuss politics there which was an absurd thing to ask from an International Relations student. This led me to have many questions regarding what would happen if I did and whats happened to those that have. That is not to say I didn’t discuss politics at all, I just did so whilst being careful of my surroundings. I also had my doubts regarding the way in which the locals would receive such a diverse group of individuals or even how we would react to the different culture and customs.

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