The primary school class 5 students from Miina Härma Gümnaasium draw pictures of their school lunch and sent them with two Estonian ladies to Kongo, Ghana for a display at Kongo Primary School.
The Mondo teacher John Bire organised the exhibition on 15th of December 2015. But first the pupils had to discover from the pictures the items of food that are common for both Estonian and Ghanaian students like chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, bread and carrots. But there was also a lot to discover for Kongo students: beloved fruits like cherries were even unknown for the teacher. Another aspect the pupils found bizarre was the fact that most Estonian students drink milk with their lunch.
Kongo Primary school is one of the lucky schools that benefits from the national school feeding programme. Not all schools and students have this luxury. When you take a look at the poster, notice also the section dedicated for hygiene in the lower left section and how all of the family is involved in the process: father is farming, mother is cooking and children are happily in school!
Take a look at the menu and go check what foods were banku and okro! Also compare the menu with yours at school and to the recommended food pyramid.
Estonian pupils are eager to receive replies to discover more in detail the Ghanaian food!
Kunda Ühisgümnaasium has a tradition of holding topical project days at the end of every school term. The idea of these days is to give students different outlook on life and teach them using different methodology. What is more, students can compile their own timetables by choosing from different workshops. Even the students groups are formed based on their interest rather than age.
As Christmas was at the door, the Food Day held on the 21st December was related to food and traditions of that time. Students were given the opportunity to compile their own timetable – they decided themselves which workshop to participate.
Elementary school students learned different fruits. They solved puzzles, wrote poems, drew pictures, played the game „The World of Fruits“. Poems and pictures were depicted and demonstrated to all the students interested in the matter.
Year 4, year 5 and year 6 students could pick between different activities: cooking, glazing gingerbreads, making hand-made candies, and herb teas. They also learned how to lay the table and table manners. What is more, students visited a local cafe „Saarepiiga“ where traditional Christmas food was served, Christmas traditions were talked about and different games were played.
Even the (wild) animals of the local forest had the opportunity to participate our Food Day. Year 4 students went hiking and took food (carrots, cabbages, potatoes) to wild animals and birds. In order to see how farm animals are taken care of in winter, students visited a local farm. As a reflection students were asked to write reports and draw pictures about their farm or forest experience.
Year 7, year 8 and year 9 students could also pick between different workshops. Students could make themselves a wooden butter knife in a handicraft´s workshop. Both boys and girls could attend that workshop. English workshops concentrated on Christmas food and traditions all over the world. Students listened to Christmas music, read poems, played games and did crosswords. Students also played Jeopardy, where a lot of questions were related to Christmas food and traditions. Christmas smells and plants which are commonly used during Christmas were also spoken about.
Students played „A Wheel of Woders“/ „Wheel of fortune“, where questions as well as prizes were fruits and vegetables. In a computer class students compiled e-cookery book about Christmas dishes. Unfortunately 45 minutes was not enough to add pictures.
Year 7 students had a practical survival workshop. They learned how to survive in the forest. Students had to find food and heat themselves with items from nature. The teacher was supported and helped by the representatives of Estonian Defence League.
Students also played the game „World Kitchen“. The idea of the game is to match traditional food and the country it comes from. Later, students could see the image of the dish on the Internet.
Physically active students could do sports in a local gym and pool. After being physically active for some time they counted the calories they had lost.
At the end of the day we had the traditional Christmas Cafe where students sold self-made products and performed on stage.
On Friday, 27th November 2015 Year 8 students presented different fruits from around the world and the entire school took part of the lecture. It was possible to listen, look and taste the fruits. More than 20 different fruits were introduced: where and how they grow, how the plantations look like, who the major manufacturers are, why these fruits are good for you and how they can be used.
Students and teachers could taste avocado, persimmon, tangerine, pomelo, grapes, pomegranate, grapefruit, melon, kiwi, orange, watermelon, banana, pineapple, lime, physalis, kumquat, and papaya. Dragon fruit, carambola, feijoa, and lychee were also shown. Many looked the exotic fruits suspiciously and dared to taste only the familiar ones. The purchase of fruits was financed by MTÜ Mondo and the members of student representative board came to school early in the morning to clean and prepare the fruits.
At the end of the lecture, teams of students from Year 1 to 5 had to complete a quiz on their mobile phones using Socrative, an online learning environment.
Though this kind of event was organised for the first time, it proved to be a success and some thoughts have been already gathered for the next year.
Ingela Uussalu, the spokeperson of student representative board
World Food Week in Väike-Maarja (in Lääne-Viru county) took place on 16th to 20th of November in 2015. The activities stroked senses and encouraged to think about food and its origin.
On 17th of November we had meetings, lectures and cooking classes with an inspiring guest, Mrs Liina Saaremäe, a representative of NGO Mondo. The subject of the day was “Food in Ghana and Ghanaian food”.
The day began with Liina’s meeting with our pupils in elementary scool (1st-4th classes). We learned that Liina is an Estonian school teacher, who was deployed by the NGO Mondo to the Republic of Ghana in West-Africa to do volunteer work. As an introduction, every child had to choose a candy: raisin in cocoa, almond in cocoa or hazelnut in cocoa. They were told about the cocoa and the fact that in Kalevi kommivabrik nearly 70% of cocoa comes from Ghana, a country which was the main topic of the day. Pupils learned about Ghanaian life, society and food. The best questioners were awarded a bookmark-rulers and teachers received different proverbs to discuss their significance in classes. The pupils were shown and given to sniff a kalebass – a bowl made of pumpkin, from which people in Ghana are eating.
On the same day, we had a next meeting in Väike-Maarja with Liina and our older students from 5th-12th classes and vocational school. At first, Liina opened the meaning of volunteering. Her volunteer work in Ghana took place in 2014. As we learned, her responsibility was to develop cooperation, global education and humanitarian assistance. Her specific tasks in Ghana were teachers methodical training and food projects, plus additional lessons to teach children to read and write. With numerous images and stories she shared her moments in Ghana – so called ice cream (or frozen juice in a plastic bag), Ghanaian national dishes, custom to carry things on your head, we all learned the Ghanaian hello “toma-toma” and the Ghanaian approving rhythmic clap. It was eyes-opening and interesting to learn that food and eating is of vital importance in Ghana, and a private activity – even so private, that the dinner guest is left alone to eat in the hut. Our students were directed to think about the one billion people in the world who live below the poverty line.
As in Väike-Maarja we also have a vocational school, Liina held a cooking course for vocational students and their supervisors. Together they prepared a Ghanaian dish called „red-red“ that was served with fried bananas. The participants all agreed – the result was delicious. Liina had only positive words about the active cookers, who were even ready to take a next cooking lesson by the end of the class.
During the week our pupils had a possibility to taste various countries breads, participate in photo competition of world food and recipes. Food provided by the school canteen was also by the week theme, from different regions of the world – Ukrainian, Italian, Chinese, the Mediterranean, Estonian. Primary school added a playful nuance – a guessing game about the region of the food for the children. Different nationalities from the Vao refugee center nearby came to school to introduce, share recipes and offer their snacks – Ukrainian pancakes with cottage cheese, biscuits from Afghanistan and Dagestan.
There’s no doubt, World Food Week brought new tastes and ideas to Väike-Maarja. We are grateful to all the people, who contributed to the success of the World Food Week, especially to you, dear Liina, and NGO Mondo!
Logre Primary School’s headteacher Solomon and Mondo teacher Prosper decided to organize the food project one day before the annual Farmer’s day. This is a public holiday in Ghana and celebrated every first Friday in December, this year on 4th of December.
The tradition of celebrating this day and started in 1986 as a recognition of the important role farmers and fishermen play in the national economy. During that period, agriculture formed about 30%, one third of the country’s GDP. Two consecutive years prior to the first Farmer’s Day celebration, the country had suffered severe drought and wild bush fires, so the agricultural sector needed a boost of moral. So the second purpose the government had was to encourage and motivate the farmers to produce more. (GraphicOnline)
This day is a vacation day for all workers and the whole public sector, a day off to enjoy literally the fruits of their own input. The best farmers and fishermen are nominated for prizes and they receive high recognition. The first best farmer received two machetes, a pair of Wellington boots and a preset radio (GraphicOnline), but nowadays the prizes are bigger and bigger. In 2015 the winner was entitled to a house and also took home a huge sum of money, a laptop and a car (Ghanaweb).
Every year the celebrations take place in a different region and city. This year it was special, because the 31st National Farmers’ Day celebration took place in Upper East region (UER) in Bolgatanga which is the closest bigger city to Kongo village. The theme of 2015 was Transform Ghana – Invest in Agriculture and almost 78 people were honored altogether (Ghanaweb). Bolgatanga is the town where Solomon lives and all Kongo was talking about the big event. The prominent people and elders were all invited to attend the celebrations.
The positive side of having the event carried out in Bolga was that the whole country turned their eyes towards their region. Upper East is the poorest of regions where the nature is the most severe and the famine and lack of education is the most prominent. However this was their occasion to show the hospitality of the locals and their warm hearts and positive assets.
The UER exposed the people of coming in to the agricultural potentials of the region and farmers got well informed about the eco-system, soil types as well as the weather and climatic conditions of the region. The winner of 2015 pointed out the hospitable nature of the people commending them for their religious tolerance. (GraphicOnline) This is one of the aspects one could really feel coming to Bolga, Kongo or Logre site.
The period that Logre organized their food project was already the Harmattan season. The most flourishing rainy season came to end at the end of October, in November the surrounding sites started to dry up. In December it is when the crops really start to lack and the famine sets in.
The Harmattan is a dry, dusty strong wind that blows from the Sahara from December to February. It appears like fog but it is dust and the dust is so dense that it covers the sun. Some people could even describe it as pleasant because the small particles of sand dims down the heat coming from the sun. But for the locals it causes problems from drying the land completely to drying themselves: skins starts cracking and people suffer from occasional and sudden nose bleeds. Shea butter is the best moisturizer for dried skin and lips. (Easytrackgahan) Remind yourself how Sekoti Primary School prepared shea butter last year.
In 2015 the Harmattan started to unusually early.This is one of the consequences of the climate change. The result? The farmers are fearing that the Harmattan could dry up cocoa seedlings but Ghana is one of the two biggest cocoa producers in the world.
So due to Harmattan, it was rather difficult for the school to organize a preparing of the food or show the harvesting. They idea was to show the readers of the foodblog the local culture through some farming songs. The first step is that the group headed to the garden of the PTA chairman Mister Naab Dok. His family was planting pito (vegetable used not only to produce local alcoholic drink but the leaves are also used as vegetable in soups and stews) and tomatoes, even his smallest children were at the site with parents.
The garden was small but lovely, the had used millet sticks to fence it and protect from wild animals. On the way there we could really feel the Harmattan blowing. The headteacher was even about to cancel the event in fear of having bad audio quality and visibility. We still carried the project out in order to honor the preparation work the pupils had done but sorry for any inconvenience the sound may cause. Still, the picture depicts well the seasonal aspects.
The pupils were grouped by their duties, some of them were planting, some carrying water and watering, some accompanied with singing to keep up the good moral and the rhythm. Afterwards the group came together and started dancing to celebrate the end of work.
The headteacher translated the songs sung by the children. They were manly about honoring the works the parents do (the parts of all the participating pupils are farmers). Children need to respect the family and help out with farming activities. Sadly, it often implies skipping school for days do to the planting or the harvesting. Still, having food on the table is the second most important thing to survive after having clean water to drink.
As in the Northern part of Ghana the farming can only been done when the water is present, during the rainy season, parents are looking out for alternative ways of providing for their families. So the often crack stones or go mining gold to earn their living. The translations of the songs and the seasonal aspect of farming is also explained by the headteacher.