June 26, 2015 7 min read
Steve Wallace is a Textile Collector living in Australia and has kindly shared his memories of a visit to the Swat Valley three decades ago through this note. Photos are at the end of the note.
Madyan, December 1983
The background to all this – General Zia is in charge of Pakistan; there is talk of CIA presence and no doubt it’s true; millions of Afghan refugees in the country; the Soviet invasion is still occurring; there is a lot of heroin business – people in Peshawar assume I’m there buy heroin – I’m actually there to buy carpets!
I went to Swat as it was suggested by a fellow I’d bought some carpets from in Adelaide. It was a good tip.
Sounds and sights from the house
Bathing in winter
Chapli kebab in Madyan
Madyan, late June & early July 1986
First impressions from my diary
There are two textile shops in town that I found. I bought some pillowcases, Kohistani purses, and Swat shawl. There was a European at the more replete shop, talking about arranging to film a minibus on the next day picking up a load of textiles/carpets.
The main street is a constant stream of trucks, cars, buses belching diesel smoke and casting dust over everything. Goats, cattle and horses are driven up the road. Donkeys and horses often have saddlebags filled with sand, cement, or firewood.. Lots of children – boys with dirty clothes and faces; girls carrying babies – they often come to the shop for kerosene, sugar and chai, and some sweets. You never see any girls above the age of (I guess) 10 or 11. Many of the boys wear a beret with a red patch, indicating they are students; others work in the bazaar, like the chai shop boy who brings tea to us in Amin’s shop – shanghai around his neck, playing and working at the same time, tossing rocks or sand at other kids…
Trip up the valley to Bahrain/Behrain and Kalam
Photos which follow:
1. Main street, donkey ‘caravan’
2 & 3 Shots of Madyan from the hill where I stayed
4 & 5 The tea shop man and his son
A house on the hill
Another view across the valley
Thank you Steve for letting us live this experience vicariously!
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