Aliakbar Dandashti, 58, is from the village of Kardak-e Khajeravi, just outside Torbat-e_Heydarieh, South Khorasan Province.
“I tend to about 40 sheep and goats. I own ten of them and the rest belong to a much wealthier person. This is why herding is also called maul-dawri [Persian for ‘holding wealth’].”
“Been doing this since I was just a child, when I went out with my father. There was a time I worked in big herds. They go out into the wilderness, into the mountains, three- or four-hundred heads and three or four shepherds. They have to go with dogs or the wolves will tear apart the herd. The dogs are bigger than the wolves. They’ll tear [the wolves] into pieces if they ever catch them.
“That type of shepherding is hard work. You stay out there during the night, have to be there when the wild animals attack.
“Today I’m just a lightweight as far as shepherds go. I just take out this small herd close to the village. I’m happy with this. I even sleep during the afternoon.
“What matters in the world is having kids, leaving something behind of yourself. I’ve got three sons and five daughters. Without kids you’re like a blind man. When you die, nothing is left of you.
“The coat I’m wearing is what my son wore when he was doing his military service. I’m real proud of him.”