I have heard (from an Afghan man that I know) that in Afghanistan, they will construct kites, and then tie or tape pieces of glass and shards of pottery to the kite-strings and have "kite-battles", where they try to use the sharp shards on their kite-strings to cut the opponent's strings.
The desert is a curse from the Water God upon the wicked people who live in the South.
Said people offended the Water God in some way, and so the Water God placed water-trappers, bizarre, water-sucking beings, in the soil, and within years, the wilderness became a desert.
Thus, the desert folk shamans have special powers that allow them to find water-trappers so that they can be dug up and their water harvested.
Teenagers who run away from home to live in the wilderness may become feral. As they become more and more feral, they gain some supernatural powers (a la Peter Pan - ability to fly, things they imagine come true - possibly quite powerful), but at the expense of their humanity and ability to speak, comprehend complex subjects, etc. Maybe they have a leader: the most feral of them all.
A regression into a fantasy childlike state.