Moving Pictures

Instead of presenting another powerpoint, Frederik van Oudenhoven impressed the audience with his moving pictures - a movie about the villages of the Pamir Mountains in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. This vivid movie not only touched me, but the majority of the audience, measured by the loud and lasting applause afterwards.

Frederik van Oudenhoven

The Dutch film maker and biologist has devoted the last few years to understanding, preserving and publishing the traditional knowledge of people living in the isolated villages around the Afghan-Tajikistan border. Instead of focusing on the numbers of unemployed, undernourished and illiterate, he turned the camera to not only stunning landscapes but agricultural production, food processing, food culture and the people behind each stage. Further, he emphasized the beauty of diversity, whether it was biodiversity or cultural diversity. His film suggest with the loss of diversity we also lose beauty.

Along with the movie, he wrote together with Jamila Haider, a cooking book, awarded with the Gourmand Award. In his movie, Mr. van Oudenhoven elucidates the role of food culture and its importance, as food links people to their country and above all, people to people. Without traditional food there is a risk of losing bonds to culture, country and other people. I'm glad Tropentag created a platform on which this exploration of people, culture, and the need for their conservation could be shared.


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