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
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
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)