After having lived in a different country for nine months, away from my family, I have noticed several huge differences and similarities between life in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. I experienced a lot of great things including learning two new languages.
I was very excited to travel to a foreign country and study there; learn a new language, make new friends. But I also noticed several differences in among the two nations.
Here’s are some of the differences that stood out to me:
No children working on the streets
One of the huge difference that I noticed was that in Kyrgyzstan you do not see any child working on the streets, washing cars or begging. Every time I walked to school or went to the market, I would see kids going to school. But in Afghanistan, there are still millions of kids who are not in school and so many of them work on the streets.
Better education and life for children
When I started school, on the very first day, I was amazed to see that kids had fancy cell phones and tablets. They were all on almost every social media website, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, just to name a few. Kids are allowed to go anywhere they want. There is no fear of kidnappings or anything like that. But in Afghanistan, from my own experience, my family members, especially my mom, worries a lot and most of the time I am not allowed to go somewhere far from home alone.
Freedoms and respect for women
Kyrgyz people are more socially progressive than Afghans. They have more of freedoms, especially women, and live in peace. Women in Kyrgyzstan have a lot of freedom. When you go to the markets and bazaars, you can see women working in the shops. I saw a lot of women bus drivers, which was amazing. In Afghanistan, women face a lot of hardships and violence. Most women are not allowed to go out alone. Many girls are not allowed to go to school and become victims of child marriage. Women are harassed a lot in Afghanistan, but in Kyrgyzstan, people respect women a lot. When I asked some of the Afghan girls studying in Bishkek that what is the thing that they like the most in Bishkek, their answers was the freedom and independence. They can do anything they wanted and there was no one to say stop them. On the other hand, I have seen on the buses in Kabul that the men and the teenagers remain seated if though there older women who are standing. In Kyrgyzstan, when you are on a bus and you see an older woman standing, you leave your seat for her.
Also in Kyrgyzstan, people greet each other even if they don’t know each other. But if you say ‘Hi’ to someone in Kabul, usually the other person will reply, “Do I know you?” In Kyrgyzstan, you can go where ever you want and do whatever you want; there is no one to say anything bad or stare at you. It is not the same in Afghanistan.
Clean, green and beautiful
Kyrgyzstan is a very beautiful and green country. You can find parks, trees and beautiful nature almost everywhere. But in Afghanistan, you can hardly find a park, and that too may not have trees.
Respect for animals
Animals are treated very well in Kyrgyzstan, but in Afghanistan there are so many animals who are always living and sleeping on the streets who are sometimes injured very badly by the people.
But that said, not everything was different about the two culture.
Value of sharing
They shared several similarities too. One of the similarities that I noticed was that both Kyrgyz and Afghans are great at sharing. Whenever they cooked large amount of food, they would share it with their neighbors.
And both countries are also known very well for their hospitality, which is a really great.
Even the language has several common words. There are a lot of Dari words which are the same in Kyrgyz language.
So much pulov!!
Another similarity thing I noticed is that both Afghans and Kyrgyzs eat a lot of pulov and meat and serve it to their guests.
(Mateen Yaqubi is Afghanistan’s youngest blogger and also writes on his personal blog)