In response to their physically demanding lifestyles, parents who work as herders often send their children to boarding school in towns and cities, sometimes far from home, in the hope that their children will secure a more comfortable future.
Despite having lived his entire life in the mountains, Alankush said he hopes for a different path for his children. “I don’t have an education, and I’m not young,” he told me. “If I were young, maybe I’d go to Olgii to work — but for me it’s better to stay in the countryside.”
“Countryside life is very hard, especially for children,” he said. “That’s why I send my children to school. If they finish university, I hope they’ll find jobs in the city.”