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.
Herbalist in the group mistakes one plant for another and mistakenly poisons the group. Not to death, but pretty darn ill with recurring symptoms until the cause and cure are realized. (Local people may be able to help rather easily. "You ate Dragon's Rot you fool, looks and smells just like mint except it has these small thistles on the root. Only grow in the Hornwood Forest, that must be where ya got them. Eat this and you will feel better in 4 hours."