Interviewed by Belek Namchyl-ool
My name is Christian.
The first time I arrived to Tuva was in 2008. In 2009, I moved here.
When I came here, I loved the nature, because you can experience Tuva’s treasure and beauty when you learn your way around its nature. I’m never bored here as I always have places to visit and see both in the winter and summer. I was surprised when I saw Tuvans for the first time. I’d never lived among Asians before, so I thought I wasn’t in Russia, but in China, South Korea or Mongolia.
Tuvans are down to Earth and hospitable people. Often, we try to seem more than who we are, but Tuvans are unique in just being themselves – always, and this is inspiring.
I love Tuvan food. Meat is always on the menu. Back in Cameroon, we usually and often have fish. Here, I can indulge in my favourite meat dishes and keep up with fish from the surrounding rivers and lake when I want to. Also, I have never thought it is possible to drink salted milk tea, but it turns out that after the first try you can’t stop! At first, I couldn’t drink it, but now I add to my tea some milk and salt myself every time. I have a nickname in Tyva, “Kara-Ool”, meaning “Black Boy”, and when I’m travelling around, I’m always asked where I am from. I often joke that I’m the Kara-ool’s nephew. (Sholban Kara-ool is the Head of Government in Tuva this moment).
Tuvans have great culture which should be shared with other people. One of the major Tuvan arts is throat-singing. You can’t find it in Africa. I hope Tuva develops in many areas, enjoys peace at home and God in the heart.
Christan Akono from Cameroon, 2014