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Char CA

January 28, 2024


Catskill, NY


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This interview was conducted with Char CA at the interviewer’s home in Catskill, New York. Char and the interviewer are friends who met in 2020. Char was born in Massachusetts but grew up in Samarkand, Uzbekistan as her parents moved the family there for primarily religious(missionary) reasons shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. Char describe sher memories of living in the village, being homeschooled, forming a tight bond with her sisters, and learning to cook and sew in alignment with village culture.She talks about feeling a sense of terror throughout her childhood due to both religious teachings and the political precarity of her family’s life, before describing their abrupt departure from Uzbekistan in Char’s teens, after American armed forces were sent to the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan border in the wake of 9/11. Char then spent two years in Istanbul, Turkey before being sent by her father touniversity in Tennessee, where she experienced culture shock. After college she married a farmer and spent time in Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; and Miami, Florida, seeking mentorship around living in community and developing her parallel professional practices of trauma care and cooking. Shortly beforet he Covid pandemic she moved to Millerton, New York to be the cook at the Watershed Center; there, she met Jalal Sabur and became familiar with his project Sweet Freedom, which has anchored Char’s experiences in the Hudson Valley since then. For the past few years, Char has had a full-time trauma care and conflict facilitation practice, but she is currently taking a sabbatical from that work and plans to spend the next few years working with food, supporting Sweet Freedom and other local projects, and continuing her journey towards motherhood.

Interviewer Bio:

Lou Thorne is a resident of Catskill, New York, and works at the intersections of publishing and art. She is also a self-taught artist and is particularly interested in the lives and pathways of artists, especially those following nontraditional paths. She has assisted Oral History SummerSchool as support staff since 2018, and previously led a community oral history project in Flatbush, Brooklyn. She is originally from Vancouver, Canada.

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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

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