The Compass Edge

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thecompassedge.net is a web project maintained by Brian Jones to log his and others' experiences while traveling to and working in regions off the standard travel map.


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To contact Brian write to brian@thecompassedge.net


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there are plenty more photos on this site. please browse the archives
  • August 2004
  • May 2004
  • April 2004
  • February 2004
  • December 2003
  • November 2003
  • October 2003
  • January 2003
  • December 2002
  • November 2002
  • July 2002
  • June 2002
  • The restaurant

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    Restaurant (55k image)

    This is a shot of a roadside restaurant in Chaghi where we got fantastic food and a tea drunk bitter with bites from lumps of sugar to sweeten it.

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    Sheep round a fire

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    Pakistan130114 (78k image)

    This is a bbq which involves draping a sheep (dead) around a fire and waiting until it cooks. The result is large lumps of roast meat to be eaten with bread and and lots and lots of tooth picks. Not for the faint hearted and after a while on this fair I have turned vegetarian for both health and sanity reasons.

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    Boy with a look

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    Bjnthat (48k image)

    This is Muhammed. He's reading one of his school books and posing for the camera. I love the impish look he's got :-)

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    Portrait with beard

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    Portman (66k image)

    This gentleman sporting a great beard, was host to a tea and chat session in a village close to the Afghan border in Chaghi district of Pakistan.

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    Portrait with turban

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    Port2 (63k image)

    I love the expression on this man's face, the quiet dignity. He made a mean cup of chai too :-)

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    White beard

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    whitebeard (54k image)

    There are some fantastic faces as with this man who owned one of the tube well sites we visited.

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    Big sister, little sister

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    girlnbaby (54k image)

    This is a shot of a young girl and her even younger sister looking on at the nutrition survey.

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    Isn't she gorgeous!

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    oldlady (48k image)

    Hajji Fatima in all her glory.

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    Light portrait

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    lightport (27k image)

    There is something about long evenings and the quality of light that always entrances me. This is a picture of a friend sitting in a beam of light filtering in through the shutters of a room we were in.

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    The meeting room

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    mtroom (51k image)

    This is a shot of a meeting hall in a village that the survey visited. It's shot with natural light and I like the stark simplicity of the place. It was extraordinary peaceful and we sat for ages supping tea and talking to men and women about the impact of the drought on their livelihoods.

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    Weighing for a nutrition survey

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    wtsurv (61k image)

    This is a really typical shot of a child being weighed during a nutrition survey. The scales have been set up in a doorway and the child has been placed in 'weighing pants' which allow him to be hung from the scales. As you can see he is not terribly amused at the indignity of the situation and continued yelling with great gusto for some time after he'd been 'released' :-)

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    Measuring height

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    Htsurv (38k image)

    I was in Chaghi to do a nutrition survey. The survey was on children under the age of 5 and collected a range of information including weight and height. This is a shot of Sabiha having her height measured. In this shot its easy because she is very cooperative but often the children are incredibly frightened and one of the biggest problems we had was of children running away when the survey teams arrived. In one village a young boy pegged it off as we arrived and we found him quite by accident in the chicken shed, rolled into a tight ball with his eyes shut :-)

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    A tube well

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    Tubewell (76k image)

    This is a shot of a typical tube well. Water is pumped from deep underground by a usually antiquated diesel pump which pushes it to a network of meticulously upkept channels that take the water over a wide area.

    Issues arise over the over use of tube wells and the current practice in Pakistan of charging a flat rate for extraction which means that people keep the well going 24 hours 7 days a week. The water table is falling dramatically as people try to meet their needs.

    It's important to point out that only a few people have access to the wells....

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    Sheep and Goats

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    shpgoats (84k image)

    Here is a collection of Baloch fat tailed sheep and goats. They are well adapted to the desert conditions, the sheep storing fat in their tail much as a camel does in its hump. They are kept close to the home at night, often tied to ropes along the walls of houses to keep them safe from pests, and allowed to range into the desert to find browse, often accompanied by small children.

    They provide hair and wool for weaving, skins for leather, milk for drinking and meat for consumption. Before the drought animals were a mainstay of the local livelihood but have become increasingly scarce as the drought has taken its toll.

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    Alfalfa grown as livestock fodder

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    ishpost (80k image)

    This is what the fields can look like when water is available. In this case the water is from a tube well, pumped from a depth of 40m.

    The drought has led to the demise of much of the traditional pasture and so people are increasingly turning to the lucrative production of animal fodder, sold in bundles in the local markets.

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    Plowing the land

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    Plowing (81k image)

    Oxen still provide the main mechanism for plowing the land. Many households dont have 2 oxen and so either pool their resources to make up a team or have to 'rent' the oxen for a percentage of their final production. What never ceases to amaze me is how people continue to prepare their land in preparation of a harvest despite the lack of rain.

    In some areas where the oxen have all died people are doing the plowing by hand with an old man holding the plow and a younger one pulling it.

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    ex Rain fed fields

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    fields (61k image)

    These are fields prepared to receive rain. They are prepared each year in the hope that rain will come and allow the production of some crops. Despite some rain in the last year, the outlook is still pretty dismal. However, the fields are still prepared and in some cases sown with seed. Typically crops include wheat and onions and alfalfa for livestock feed.

    In some areas there is some irrigated agriculture but that involves access to tube wells which are generally expensive to dig and expensive to run and out of the experience of the majority. There are some work opportunities as tenant farmers on irrigated land but access to this work depends on village and tribal links to the rich land owners.

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    Camels and dunes

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    camels (47k image)

    A classic image of camels in a desert! Camels are an incredibly important tool in the area because they can range many kms from a water hole and extend the area over which they can find browse. Camels also provide an important source of milk (high in vitamin C) and crucially they are a beast of burden used to transport firewood and 'smuggled' goods. Many people rely on income from the collection of firewood from Afghanistan many days journey away. The wood is sold in the markets of Nushki and its common to see compounds piled high with the stuff, bleached by the sun like so many bones of some huge beast.... It was saddening to talk to people around 30 years of age who remembered very clearly the forests that existed right around Nushki, all of which are now gone. There is an incredible sense of an environment lost, something which seems to have repeated itself across countless contexts........

    Camels also transport illicit goods across the small mountain tracks between Pakistan and Afghanistan...

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    Desert camp

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    descamp (43k image)

    This is an example of a desert camp that has become a de facto village after years of continuous occupation. You can see the sand, which is in stark contrast with the other type of desert which is around in the area. The tents are owned by people who left their villages as the drought crisis continued year after year. The camp is not too far from the town of Nushki and many people are involved in some form of waged labour, which allows them to eke out a living.

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    Mountain village

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    desvill (68k image)

    This is a typical village, nestled in the mountains, the buildings fitting in to the surroundings seemingly a part of the landscape. People eke out a living through the herding of livestock and the practice of rain fed agriculture. In Chaghi there has been a drought for the past 7 years, which has systematically erroded people's livelihoods and ability to cope with what amounts to a chronic drought shock.

    Increasingly people are turning their backs on a landscape and way of life that is unable to sustain them and turning instead to daily waged labour in a desperate attempt to obtain food and other essential items which they require to sustain them.

    The situation raises important questions about how to design and implement programs within chronic situations when most funding is geared towards acute 'emergencies' and actively turns away from chronic situations.

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    Barren mountains close to the Afghan border

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, April 12, 2004

    brnhlls (48k image)

    This is a typical scene from the district of Chaghi close to the border with Afghanistan. The area is characterised by a stony desert, a far cry from picturesque sand dunes. The mountains stretch off into the distance and appear almost totally devoid of life. The only form of communications are the rough desert roads that meander between along the valley floors and criss crossed with smuggler routes.

    The feeling of desolation is difficult to describe and its quite possible to drive for upwards of six hours and not see a soul.

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