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Transcript of Kandahar, Afghanistan
I know that Afghanistan is in Asia, and that Afghanistan borders Pakistan. I can infer that it has a warmer climate there, because it is located in Asia. I already know that there isn't a lot of education there, because of the Taliban's dictatorship. I know Afghanistan is near the Himalayas and its landscape is a mixture between desert and mountain ranges. I know that Afghanistan has been deeply affected by war and that it is still recovering.
The five themes of geography affect life in Afghanistan in many ways. I learned about how a developing country functions, and what a day in a life would be like there. I now see how much better my life is than many people in the world, and this project has inspired me to help those in need in refugee camps, those in need of an education, and developing countries. I have learned about Afghanistan's history, the education, location, place, movement, region, and human interaction with the environment. If you had asked me about Afghanistan before I had researched anything, I would have probably given a vague description about the wars there. Now I realize that Kandahar, Afghanistan is more than a place, it is a land, it is a habitat, it is a home.
Human Interaction With the Enviroment
Afghanistan is a landlocked country, with rugged mountain ranges, such as the Hindu Kush, surrounded by deserts such as the Registan. The main water sources are four rivers: the Kabul, Helmand, Amu Darya, and the Hari Rud. In Kandahar, the climate stays fairly mild year-round. The population of Afghanistan is approximately 31 million. Most families are in desperate situations, and Refugees live in Pakistan and Iran. Poverty dots the country like disease. The economy is currently underdeveloped, and is in a desperate situation as well.
Most of the population in Afghanistan are farmers who use the land to plant crops, and also for keeping livestock. Global warming is also hitting Afghanistan hard, because they rely on the cold ice caps in the high mountains to melt and give them a clean water source. The farmers have a heavy influence on the use of natural resources. Farmers are using too much water from the rivers for irrigation, so much so that the waterways are being heavily affected, and drying up when drought comes. Most of the land is mountainous, and not sufficient for farming. The farmers are using the little land that can be irrigated, and the land that receives rainfall. In Kandahar, farming is very important, for the city is also affected by the irrigation strains.
Sharbat Gula was a young girl who lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan, after soviet planes bombed her village. This was a time of war in Afghanistan. One day, a photographer came by her refugee camp and took her picture. She was only fourteen, but she became known around the world as the National Geographic Afghan girl. Many people were touched by that photo, even if they didn't know the girl behind those eyes. Seventeen years passed, and the photographer, Steve McCurry decided to go and find her again. He eventually found her and took her picture once more, this time she was thirty, and had three children. When the photographer asked about her life, she sat him down and began her tale. Her parents? Dead. They were killed in the bombings that destroyed her village when she was six. She, her grandmother, her brother, and her three sisters walked to Pakistan, hiding in the caves, for they didn't know if the planes would come back and harm them. "Sharbat has never known a happy day," her brother said to the journalist, "Except perhaps the day of her marriage." Sharbat was married at the age of sixteen, and one year later she had her first child. Now she has three children. She takes education very seriously, "I want my daughters to have skills, I wanted to finish school but could not. I was sorry I had to leave." She can't read anything, but can only write her name. Sharbat's image will forever be frozen in time .
Education in Afghanistan is scarce. After the Taliban's reign, almost a whole generation has become illiterate. The wars have deeply affected education, as the people of Afghanistan know it. Only twenty-eight percent of adults in Afghanistan are literate, twelve of that twenty-eight are women. With almost no access to schools, and the schools limited access to recources, going to school in Afghanistan is very difficult. The average number of years people go to school there is around three. Right now, 4.2 million children don't have access to an education they deserve. Girls are even sometimes violently attacked for going to school. Due to limited space in colleges, half of the students that graduate don't get to go to college, so, they must wait another year to have space open back up in the colleges.
Housing in Afghanistan is unique. Rural homes are usually made of mud bricks, and are located on bigger pieces of land than urban homes. The outside of these homes are plastered in mud and straw. The houses are normally surrounded by high mud walls to provide security, seclusion for women, and a yard for animals to live in. Rural homes do not have access to running water or electricity, so they bake their bread in underground ovens. The rooms in a house are mostly surrounding a courtyard in the very middle of the house. Rural homes connect the underground oven to a living room, where the oven heats it up in the winter.
A unique feature that separates my country into different regions are the different wars that have happened there over time. Another unique feature in Afghanistan are different ethnic groups. My city is located in the south of Afghanistan, where the largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns, live. This shapes the communities, because they pretty much all share the same beliefs. There have been many wars in Afghanistan, such as their war with Russia, and with the Taliban. Since there have been wars in Afghanistan right on top of one another, the education is poor, and the economy and government is almost non-existent. Because of this, life is very chaotic and stressful.
In Afghanistan, there is not a lot of emigration right now to other countries, because they are still recovering from the wars with Russia and the Taliban. However, over the last ten years 5.7 million refugees have moved out of Afghanistan for fear of national security. There are nomads in Afghanistan, and they move from place to place within Afghanistan, sometimes bringing new things and ideas with them. Most of the people in Afghanistan follow Islam. Islam is a religon based on a belief that there is only one god. Islam was started by a prophet named Muhammad, in 622, and was introduced to Afghanistan in the seventh century.
Relative location of Kandahar: 35 degrees north, 60 degrees east
Absolute location of Kandahar: 31 degrees north, 65 degrees east
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