Monday, May 2, 2022

Travel the World - Afghanistan

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...


Afghanistan is a landlocked country in South-Central Asia. It borders six countries: Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, and China.

The country's official name is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

With a population of almost 40-million, Afghanistan is the 37th most populous country in the world.

Kabul is the capital and largest city in Afghanistan. Around 10% of the population lives in Kabul.

Since the use of its first flag in 1709, Afghanistan has had 26 different national flags.

The chief characteristic of Afghanistan's climate is a blue cloudless sky with over 300 days of sunshine yearly. Even during the winter, skies usually remain clear between snowfalls. Since rainfall is scarce from May to November, this period can be extremely dry and dusty. 

The combination of hot summers and bitterly cold winters has been noted comparable to the U.S. state of Wyoming.

The Hindu Kush mountain range reaches a height of 24,580 feet, making it Afghanistan's highest peak.

Animal husbandry produces meat and dairy products for local consumption; skins, especially those of the famous karakul, and wool (both for export and for domestic carpet weaving) are also important products. Livestock includes sheep, cattle, goatsdonkeys, horses, camels, buffalo, and mules.

There is a great variety of wild animals roaming the mountains and foothills, including wolves, foxes, striped hyenas, and jackals. Gazelles, wild dogs, and wild cats, such as snow leopards, are widespread.

Afghanistan’s national animal is the snow leopard. This elusive cat lives high in the mountains. It is rarely caught on video by trail cameras. 

The golden eagle is the national bird. It is one of the best-known and most recognizable birds of prey in the world.

Afghanistan also has a national dog, the Afghan hound. Afghan hounds have narrow faces and long fur on their ears, sides, and legs. They are a favorite show dog the world over.

Afghanistan is home to a number of venomous animals, including snakesscorpions, and spiders. The saw-scaled viper is one of the deadliest snakes in Asia, and the carpet viper can cause deadly blood clots and bleeding. The deathstalker scorpion is the most dangerous scorpion in the world. And bites from spiders such as the black widow, while rarely fatal, can make an adult human very sick.

The world's oldest oil paintings are in Afghanistan. Scientists discovered the paintings on cave walls and dated them from the 7th-century AD. The cave paintings depict Buddhas in vermilion robes and mythical creatures. 

Agriculture is the main source of income for Afghans. 

Afghanistan is also rich in natural resources like natural gas and oil.

"Buzkashi” is Afghanistan’s national game. Players in two teams try to catch a goat while riding a horse. This game is being played for centuries and is a tough sport.

Kandahar airfield was once the busiest single-runway airstrip in the world when it handled 1,700 to 5,000 flights a week. 

New Year is celebrated by Afghans on 21st March. They call it “Nawroz”. It is a pre-Islamic festival which is celebrated by a gathering of thousands of travelers from across Afghanistan to the city of Mazar-e-Sharif. 

In Afghanistan, most of the shops and businesses are closed on Friday, which is the Islamic holy day.

The family is an important aspect of Afghanistan’s culture. Men are laden with the responsibility to earn while women are expected to stay home and serve the family. However, in modern Afghanistan, you may also find some women working in the cities and earning a living for themselves and their families.

In most of the cases, the family lives together in the same house. Upon marriage, the son and his wife live separately in a different room in the house under the same roof.

Hospitality plays a significant role in the country’s culture and tradition. The visitors are treated with the utmost respect and are offered the best that the household has.

Food is generally served on the floor, on clothes made from various materials.

The host does their best to serve the best possible food, and special attention is paid to fill the visitor’s plate when it is empty.

Gifts are a means of strengthening the relationship between a visitor and his/her host. The visitors can carry a small gift for the host when invited for tea or food.

A handshake is the most usual form of greeting in Afghanistan’s culture. Some people also place their hand on their heart and nod slightly to show respect and approval to the other party. However, shaking hands between the members of the opposite sex is not usual and is avoided.

Direct eye contact between men and women is not considered acceptable and must be avoided.

Mobile phones are considered status symbols in Afghanistan. Mobile phone coverage is available in more than 90% of the country. 

Poetry night is celebrated on Thursdays in Afghanistan's western city of Herat. People of all age groups gather there to share modern and ancient verses of poetry and indulge in some nice food along with some sweet tea.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the poster boy in many of the muscle building centers in Afghanistan. They say he (Arnold Schwarzenegger) looks like an Afghan.

Not many go to school in Afghanistan, as the country is not known for caring too much about Human development.

The literacy rate in Afghanistan is 43%.

Forty-two percent of Afghanistan's population is below the poverty line.

Afghan rugs are very popular around the world.

There is literally only one Jew living in Afghanistan, a carpet trader named Zablon Simintov.

The country is rich in natural resources. It has great deposits of natural gas, marble, coal, gold, and other rare, raw materials.

Afghanistan has the highest number of refugees in the world.

Currently, Afghanistan produces about 1.5 million tons of fresh fruits yearly.

Aushak is a common dish during Afghanistan gatherings. It is a pasta dumpling dish stuffed with spring onions, served with meaty tomato sauce. Afghans often enjoy this with yogurt and dry mint toppings.

There are two KFC restaurants in Afghanistan. However, this KFC does not stand for Kentucky Fried Chicken, but actually Kabul Fried Chicken.

Afghanistan has no pig farms, nor does it sell pigs. In 2002, China gave a male pig by the name of Khanzir, and his female companion, to the Kabul Zoo. Khanzir and his companion had piglets, but an accident occurred when a bear attacked their cage. The female pig and the piglets died, and Khanzir was the only survivor, making him the only pig in the entire country.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Afghanistan... Afghanistan has been in the news more than any country in the last decade.

Here's the inside:

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Stamping Bella Uptown Girl Nancy Reads the Newspaper stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White, Recollections Black, and SU Basic Grey and Bermuda Bay CS

Dies: Impression Obsession Crazy Stitched Set and MFT Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Eyelet Outlet Enamel Dot


Lynn McAuley said...

Great card with this fun image, Jeanette!

kiwimeskreations said...

Love your card Jeanette, and what a diverse and fascinating country Afghanistan is ! thanks for all the information :)