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Afghanistan 2012


Kabul, Afghanistan

In the early 1970s, Kabul, then a city of 650,000, had no landfills. Instead an efficient “kid-based” system kept the city free of trash. Each morning, neighbor_hood residents dumped their trash and food waste at designated spots. Teams of children with gunnysacks sorted the refuse, bagging the recyclables they found. When only food scraps remained, goatherds arrived with their flocks and fresh hay brought by donkeys was spread over the garbage. The four-footed kids grazed the hay and garbage down to bare earth while the two-footed kids made their way through the congested maze of the Old Bazaar. There, wholesalers bought the bones, metal, rubber, paper, cloth, and plastic from the children and delivered it all to factories and workshops. Everything was recycled.
– Bill Witt ©1974
Peace Corps Volunteer (TELF–School for Male Nurses), 1973-75 Afghanistan

Afghanistan/Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Afghanestan
In Southern Asia, mostly rugged mountains; plains to north and south. 652,230 km2 (slightly < TX), 12% arable.

Capital Kabul (pop est. 1.4M)

Population 29.8M (161/km2)

Life expectancy 45 years


Literacy 28%

Languages Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashto (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek & Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages 4%, much bilingualism

Religions Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19%, other 1%

Ethnic Groups Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Almak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%

Gov’t Islamic Republic

GDP/cap $1,000

PCVs 1962-79, English language, vocational education, university math, agriculture, engineering, architecture, health, nursing and business ed (Volunteers served: 1,652)

Nat’l holiday Independence Day (National Day) 19 August (1919)

Adult Books

The Places In Between
by Rory Stewart

Paperback: 297 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st edition (May 8, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0156031561

Book Description
Stewart began a walk across Afghanistan from Herat to Kabul launching a journey through a devastated, unsettled, and unsafe landscape. The recounting of that journey makes for an engrossing, surprising, and often deeply moving portrait of the land and the peoples who inhabit it.

Kids' Books

The breadwinner
by Deborah Ellis

Format: Paperback, 170 pages
ISBN: 978-0-88899-416-5
Interest Level: 5-8
Age Range: 10–14 years
Publisher: House of Anansi, Distributed in the U.S.A. by Publishers Group West, c2000


Film: Motherland Afghanistan
Director: Sedika Mojadidi (2007)


Ahmad Zahir: Music from Afghanistan

Focus Word

Focus Word for 2012 - "Freedom"

Dari or Afghan Persian: aazaadi (ah-zaa-dee)
Turkmen: azatlyk (a-zat-lik)

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