Minutes before entering the most administrative yurt in Kizilkum’s desert, Rano counts the expenses made by the tourists. She does that on a notebook which once in a while had white sheets of paper and that now see its edges fighting against gravity. She helps herself with a calculator. The interview, simultaneously translated by the guide Ahror, has rhythm. It is fluent. Rano finishes a sentence and she makes a pause, waiting for Ahror to translate the answer to me. Her 15 years experience as an Uzbek teacher, both language and literature, are glimpsed during the 13 minutes and 54 seconds of the interview.
Rano Opa Yakubova. 47 years old. She lives at Turkul, a village located 70 km far from the hotel complex in which she is co-owner. She is the mother of two kids and a wife. She started working in the yurts of the desert of Karakalpakstan in 2005, 8 years after her sister launched the business. The contact with the tourists has enriched her both at work and personally. She replaced kerosene lamps for solar panels sponsored by UNESCO. She does not want only her kids to study but also to learn more languages and get to know the world. Rano has got in mind the idea of travelling, but she will do it in 10 years time, when her kids get older and she stops working. Her travels are limited in little trips to the neighbours Kazajistan and Turmenistan. She has got honey eyes, wooden dark skin and a shiny smile due to a gold dental crown.
What is happiness for you?
Seeing the people you love and adore. That is happiness. Seeing you, for me is happiness too. You can find anything but this moment would never be repeated.
(Rano, Uzbekistan. 29th of June, 2015)