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.
Trying to find a place for this...
"After the famine hit the land, the priest Galen began religious wanderings, drawing his congregation to follow him. Those who took up with him, began to walk, a great outpouring of energy to this religious pilgrimage, coming from an impoverished nation with no true direction other than to find relief. Galen professed to his followers that they would find great resources set by his God down on Earth for them, enough to nourish and slate their thirst. Those that fell as he took them across the barren plains of the western reaches, rose again to join the lines. When finally all had died, Galen led them further, praising Nuh-Erell for that first city they came upon and a feast of flesh that lay in wait"