Digging through the trash or going to someone else’s wedding?

Digging through the trash or going to someone else’s wedding: how Turkmen families get food to survive

In the Bayramaly etrap of Mary velayat, due to the economic crisis, unemployment and falling living standards, some families began to appear at weddings without an invitation. Uninvited guests enter the banquet halls of restaurants where wedding ceremonies are taking place in order to find food for themselves. Radio Azatlyk reported this.

According to correspondents, one of these residents of Mary, who finds herself in a desperate situation, goes to weddings with three minor children. Several years ago, the husband of a single mother was sentenced to prison in one of the colonies in Lebap velayat. The man was the only breadwinner in the family. Therefore, she has to attend weddings and sadaqah – charity dinners – with her three children.

It is unlikely that a desperate woman imagined such a fate for her children. But being in conditions of lack of money and lack of support from the state, the mother will agree to much contrary to generally accepted norms – just to feed her hungry children. Some beg for food on the streets or get leftovers from trash cans.

According to Turkmen traditions, no one drives away those who come to a crowded wedding without an invitation and they are allowed to eat. But visiting wedding festivities with strangers is considered a kind of bad form.

According to the mother of three children, weddings among wealthy people are the most popular, because in addition to hearty food, sweets and fruits can be taken home in a bag. But recently, getting inside banquet halls and restaurants has become more difficult. Not because of recognition among those feasting, but because of the ban on entry by staff. In this case, people wait outside for the end of the ceremony and when food and groceries begin to be taken out to the car, they beg for what they can enjoy at home.

Recently, life in Turkmenistan has become unbearable due to the economic crisis, which has left many families without income and completely impoverished. Meanwhile, the country’s authorities do not acknowledge the existence of economic problems, and the official media also do not cover this topic, preferring to remain on the side of the head of state.