the last 150km to the border

Ali from Fariman brought himself into task to help organizing my overnight stayings from now on for the rest of my stay in Iran.

Coming closer to the Afghanistan border, people changed again. Men wearing turban, rolled from a long fabric. At one end a meter of the fabric hangs down, ready to be any time bond around the face, to be protected from sun, smell or sand.

The region becomes more desert like again. The temperature is increasing, partly because of becoming more and more summer, partly I am walking south / south east.

The people really participate more in the walk. They started by fotographing me on the way. Published the pics on a internet chat platform called ‚telegram‘. So it happens more and more often, that people just stopped by with the car or motorcycle, jumping out of the car to make a selfie with me, posting it again on ‚telegram‘. It feels like a good bye action of the Iranians, while other media is not covering the happening….. likeable. Again and again I have to pose, sometimes every 500m to 1 km I got stopped. Puh. ….

I am anyway impressed by the kindness and hospitality of the Iranians. It was always so easy to get in contact and to find a place for overnight staying. Followed by lots of interest towards the peace walk and so on……

In the last days I had the feeling that more and more people showed up every evening, to see this crazy man from Germany walking in the heat in the desert. 3 times I stayed in different mosques.

It was already Ramadan by than. And I participated to the big surprise of the people, too. Are you a Moslem? is the often heard question. And often I answer: Yes I am also a Moslem beside being a Christian (Messie), a Buddhist, a Hindu and so on….. what makes often a irritating smile on there faces. The mind just don’t know what to think about it.

So in this Ramadan I just popped in a fast breaking in a Mosque. I arrived in that village Bag Sangan when the Iman called for the evening prayer and everyone guided me to the mosque. Slowly more and more people arrived. Busy preparation for the prayer and the food and drinks – water and tea…. finally around 300 people gathered for the dinner on the ground. Women on the other side of the curtain and a lot of children. Everyone got a glass of water, then the evening prayer. 20 meter long table cloth were enrolled, all were sitting in several lines around, dinner with dates, cheese, bread, tomato and cucumber. More water and yoghurt drinks were served. Just beautiful.

In another mosque, where I was invited several days later – organized again by Ali – the atmosphere was a bit calmer. I already was there at around 2pm. I was invited to have a rest sleep on the opper floor. At the afternoon prayer – all the men entered in a very calm way. In this area lots of Sunni Moslems live. The calmness of the Iman is transfered to this community. The mosque in Kariz is newly build and invites and underlines with his white inner beautiful architecture and structure the calmness. In this community the men wear a moslem dress what I will see in Afghanistan again. The evening prayer at sunset also includes a meal what is served outside. At 8pm there is another 2h long prayer guided by the Imam for the women in separate area. After midnight and some more chatting I finally came to sleep, interrupted at 2am with some more food and water and the morning prayer before any dawn is seen.

The last 150km towards the border is accompanied with more police presence at the street. Mainly because of controlling incoming traffic from Afghanistan. But the police also noticed me and we had some encounters. First story happend when I was sitting in the shade of a tree, when suddenly a police car stopped by. Passport control. But that was not enough, so they brought me back to the last town for a further security check at the Iranian intelligence office. A day before a had a day rest at Ali’s and Fatimas family back in Fariman, where I made lots of peace birds. This peace birds wanted to go to the police here. So all the police stuff was very happy to get some. There were also 5 kids from Afghanistan in the police station. They obviously crossed the border illegally. These Teen and kids were fixed in handcuffs at the chairs that where sitting in. Handcuffs for the hands, they always bond two boys together,  And also handcuffs for the feet. Mehdi, one of the policemen told me, this boys will be brought back to Herat in Afghanistan the next days. And I was not allowed to give them any peace bird…..

After all the procedure at the office was done, Mehdi wanted to bring me back to the place where they found me, when he changed his mind. He was begging me, to stay one night in his home. The invitation was so sweet, that I agreed. His wife Vedjihi welcomed me also very much from her heart. When Mehdi told her about the peace walk she was so touched that she started crying. In the evening suddenly the atmosphere changed, when Mehdi offered me that I have to go by car to be next city tomorrow. If I do not follow the instructions, he will also put me in handcuffs he said. I could not accept this changing as I could not see any reason for it, also not security wise. So I brought out my complains and disagreement. Because knowing that hospitality and host honor is important to Iranian I said: I guess I did a big mistake, coming to your house. It really worked and after some more arguing it was clear that I could continue walking the next day. So he brought me next morning, 1 1/2 later than promised to the one day earlier rest place. I had to walk 33km (no village before) in a fasting mode, walking in the desert in the heat and he just did not want to let me go. Lots of selfies and a little video he did until I had to end the story. Closed before I was reached my evening destination he suddenly showed up with his wife at the street. Again he wanted to make selfies. But there was really no time. People were waiting at the next village Mohsen Abad, and I had to walk 3 more km. And the sun was coming down. I knew people wanted to break there fast after looking for me. So he went again,  towards Mohsen Abad and shortly after he came back. He had to go. Another police job. So I had to agree with some more selfies. Finally he was laying in my arms and crying hardly, ‚I love you, I love you‘ dramatically theatrically. He left and 2 more cars and a motorcycle stopped by to make selfies to publish it in ‚telegram‘.

Next day

Arriving in Taybat, the last town before the border, Ansgar was already waiting. It was 10 am in the morning and I walked until here 10 km. He and his lovely wife Efat with a baby under her heart, welcomed me with doing my laundry and a good rest time. Later in the afternoon I went with Ansgar to his home village area. Sightseeing a old huge Tower, which was used as a path marker for caravans in north south and east west directions. The mountains around fascinated me so we went into one desert valley where I surprisingly saw a little creek. How wonderful in this set area. It followed a visit at his home town to see his family and his property, where he wants to build a house soon.


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