Khaltcha and Abdul Muttalib smoke opium several times a day - like approximately 20% of the Kyrgyz. ?We started smoking when we lost our first child? says Abdul, ?Every year, one of our children would die? - often from diseases easily treatable elsewhere. Only one, a son, survived to age five. Then he, too, passed away. ?We lost 11 children, we are unlucky?. In the Pamir, it is not unusual for parents to lose six or seven children. Most Kyrgyz are extremely unsentimental about death and dying...
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