Since being notified of my deployment I’ve been constantly completing training courses and getting “smart” prior to arriving in country. Most of the training has been pretty bland and painfully long so I find myself trying to find information about Afghanistan. Courtesy of http://www.10-facts-about.com here are some interesting facts I’ve learned.
Fact 1: The New Year in Afghanistan, called Nawroz, is celebrated on 21 March which is the first day of spring. I wish I could experience a New Year’s party Afghan style…I would like to see their version of our Dick Clark.
Fact 2: The largest city in Afghanistan is Kabul, the capital. It’s population of 3.9 million is slightly larger than L.A.
Fact 3: Afghanistan is a landlocked country sharing borders with Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and China. China…really? I had to look at the map to see if this was true.
Fact 4: Poetry is a big part of Afghans' culture and it has been for centuries. In the city of Herat, women, men and children gather on Thursday night to share verses from old and new poetry. I wonder if they ever heard the one about beans and how good they are for your heart?
Fact 5: The people of Afghanistan are called Afghans and not Afghanis which is the currency. A common mistake that happens among people. Yep, include me on making this mistake.
Fact 6: The official language of Afghanistan is Dari and Pashto. They speak several other languages as well such as Persian, Uzbek and Turkmen to name a few. With my limited Dari training on the computer, I’m not going to let my interrupter get more than 2 feet away!
Fact 7: Afghanistan's main source of income comes from agriculture. They produce large amounts of crops that are enough to provide for the people and export as well. They plant vegetables, fruits, rice and nuts. While Afghanistan is known for their opium I’ve read that since 2007 opium has been on a steady decline.
Fact 8: Afghanistan is also rich in natural resources with the main ones being natural gas and oil. This isn’t that surprising.
Fact 9: Afghanistan's national game is called Buzkashi, or in other words, goat-grabbing. It's a sport where the players in two teams try to catch a goat while riding on a horse. It has been played for centuries and it even got sponsors for it nowadays. From the pictures I’ve seen on the internet it appears to be a pretty brutal and bloody sport. I’m sure I will need a wavier from my boss if I’m going to play this game!
Fact 10: Afghanistan celebrates its independence on August 19th from Britain. Afghanistan wasn't actually part of the British Colony. However, they went into war three times until Afghanistan declared its independence in 1919. I’m willing to bet that Afghanistan doesn’t have any provinces where it is illegal to buy or sell fireworks!
Finally, I’m off to my first week of training for this deployment. It’s a weeklong classroom style training so it can be difficult to stay fully awake and attentive to the topic being discussed. Overall it's beneficial to get an idea on my future but it’s overwhelming at the same time, I’m hoping the muddy waters will clear up. At least the accommodations are nice. I’ve never drank a Monster Energy Drink in such style!
In family terms the deployment has sort of started because today is Madalynn’s birthday and I will not be there. That makes it official, I will have missed all birthday’s of my girls this year (including Lady M’s). At least I will be there for the party on Saturday!
I’m looking forward to this week coming to an end because of birthday party and being able to see family again. After the party Lady M and I are sneaking off for a mini vacation prior too the fun beginning in June.