Mandarin oranges are a prized commodity in Tajikistan, taken as a symbol of good fortune.
Two drivers from Kyrgyzstan risk their lives on dangerous roads to bring a truckload to the neighbouring Central Asian country – a 413-kilometre journey in a small, 30-year-old truck through 4,000 metre-high mountains.
Kuban and Duysha begin their adventure in Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s second-largest city. If the mandarins don’t freeze in the cargo hold, they will be sold for scarcely more than the cost of the duo’s perilous journey through blizzards and icy roads, at death-defying altitudes.
“It’s snowed a lot this year. It snowed early and there’s too much, and there’s black ice all over the road,” says Duysha.
Along the way, temperatures can drop to -30 degrees Celsius, and -10 inside the truck. Breaking down is not an option.
“If I stay in the vehicle I’ll die of hypothermia,” says Duysha.
There’s no time to spare. Kuban and Duysha have to rush through a most challenging environment to deliver the mandarins to Tajikistan and sell them in good condition.
Source: Al Jazeera