A warm breeze seems to blow across Uzbekistan. Smiling faces and warm greetings welcome the visitors. The older ones smile, the younger ones raise their mobile phones and ask for a picture with the foreigner. I am in Ubekistan. It is by far not my first visit, but this time it is just amazing! A warm breeze seems to blow across the country, melting faces that open up after years of quietly managing the day, and carefully avoiding contacts with unknown people.
Wherever I go, sit, or stand, the same situation happens: People walk up to me and want to take a picture, ask me where I am from, or just try out a few words in English. “What is your name?” And “Where are you from?” are the most frequently asked questions. They are curious, and are interested how I like their country. This is very new. ”Where did you learn English,” I ask back. “In school” is the answer. “Our President told us to learn more English.
A lot of tourist are around, but they are from the regions and neighboring states, only few are from Europe, the US, Japan of China. Uzbekistan has carefully opened its borders to Tadjikistan and Kirgistan. So people are beginning to visit each other, after many years. Relatives, friends and tourist are crossing the border, which is still well guarded.
Only 1 1/2 year ago, a new President took office in Tashkent. Within only few months, the climate in the country has changed in way that no one could expect! Regional cooperation has begun. People are looking into the future with hope and confidence, they enjoy the warm wind of change.
”Everywhere is construction” the taxi driver comments. “It is private people, and it is the Government” he explains, “everywhere!”. But he does not complain. A lot of hope for improvement of living is included in his words. A warm wind of hope and change is blowing across the country!