Valeria Amirova

NR · World
Published · Online


My mom and I left Almaty, Kazakhstan for Canada in 1994. I was 9 years old. When you’re a refugee, you can’t go back to the country you came from for at least 3 years. We went back after 5 years.

My mom was sent to prison for obscure reasons almost immediately after our arrival in Almaty. We left as soon as she was released. I always hated Kazakhstan. I never missed the mountains that my mom always talked about. I never felt any connection to the place where I was from.

Growing confused about my identity, seventeen years later I decided to go back. I hiked the mountains where I grew up, slept in yurts, ate the food and spoke the language.

Being back home felt wonderful!


Photography and Words · Valeria Amirova

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