Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Did You Know?

What I've learned from the Tajik locals:

Tajikistan is 93% mountains.

The second highest peak in the world is in the Pamir mountain range in southern Tajikistan. It used to be called Mount Communism, but since has been renamed to Mount Somoni (after the first King of Tajikistan).

The currency is also named after Somoni. 1 US dollar equals 3.45 somoni. There are 100 dirams in 1 somoni. One loaf of bread costs 1 somoni 50 diram, a marshrutka ( microbus) ride costs 35 to 50 diram and a restaurant meal for five costs 12 somoni.

Every cellphone service in Tajikistan gives the first 10 seconds for free, so many people have multiple 10 second conversations in a row.

There are only 11 grades in Tajikistan.

There is no college application process. You can go to whatever University and study whatever you choose depending on your interests as well as money (Some courses cost up to $800 a year).

University students in the first, second and third courses are required to go cotton picking for an indefinite amount of time every fall to help their government (which pays for tuition). Teachers are supposed to go on weekends.

Money speaks really loudly here: for University diplomas, tests and grades, for driver's licenses and especially to get out of cotton picking. If you've got money (and I'm not talking millions, I'm talking hundreds) you've got it.

Enrique Inglasias is by far the most popular American artist here. Other well-liked groups include Pussy Cat Dolls, Rihanna, 50 Cent, Eminem, James Blunt, Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson.

The Tajik language is the same as Farsi (spoken in Iran), but the lettering system was changed from the Arabic script to Cyrillic after Tajikistan became part of the Soviet Union.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

THANK you so much for these details! I find myself checking your blog every evening greedy for more information and word pictures. This afternoon I met a young man who is going to Croatia as a missionary for two years -- I thought about the work you are doing and the thousands of wonderful young people doing something healing and helpful for the world and felt so grateful to you. Blessings.