I’ve always wondered about the “sister cities” phenomena. Why does it exist? What does it do? What is the point?
I supposed I could’ve looked at Wikipedia long ago and gotten all the answers, but it wasn’t that important. It wasn’t an itch that I particular needed to scratch.
When I started looking into what Tajik information and resources were on the web, however, I kept coming back to the Boulder-Dushanbe sister city connection. I may be that the Boulder-Dushanbe link pops up a lot because there is a dearth of Tajik-related websites in English, so if you’re searching for “Tajikistan” or “Dushanbe” then you’re bound to run across that sister city connection sooner or later. According to the website, the connection is a real one that dates back to the Cold War and 1982, but the interaction between the cities has grown since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
For a long time the most visible manifestion of the unexpected Boulder-Dushanbe connection was the traditional Tajik teahouse (or choihona) in Boulder that was a gift from the City of Dushanbe in 1998. Recently, Boulder’s return gift to Dushanbe was completed: a full-service cybercafe in Dushanbe.
At least I know I’ll be able to check Sox scores somewhere when I’m over there. More than that, it’s heartening to know that some Americans somewhere know something about Dushanbe and Tajikistan. It’s an obscure place to go off to, but in this great, big, diverse country of ours, there is something for everyone, and it seems that Dushanbe is that thing for at least some folks in Boulder. And maybe that’s the point of sister cities: to connect with people from somewhere very different.