Zanlerigu Primary School and plants in our yard

Classes 4, 5 and 6 from Zanlerigu Primary took part of different school linking activities. From 7th to 11th of November.

Our friends from Estonia sent us a presentation about plants in their school yard. We looked at it with classes 6a and 6b and the Mondo teacher from Estonia was explaining the uses of these plants and some things about the climate and nature of Estonia. For us it is quite difficult to imagine a place than can be so cold at times. We made herbal tree from linden tree flowers and drank it together.

With class 6b we then went around our own school and talked about the ways we use the trees that are found here. The trees that we saw were Neem tree, Kapok, Flamboyant tree, Mahogany, Eucalyptus and Acacia. The most obvious benefit of all these trees is that they provide shade and coolness for us and our animals when the weather is very hot outside.

Some trees also have very special value for their beauty. For example in the beginning of rainy season the Flamboyant tree bears very decorative red flowers that are pleasing to look at. Flamboyant tree and Acacia belong to the the bean family of plants which means that they bear fruits that are stored on pods. These pods of seeds can be used to make different sounds and play music. These trees also have fern-like leaves that are made up of many small units attached to one leaf-stem.

The trees that have medicinal value are Neem tree and Mahogany. We can make tea from neem leaves, which can lower fever, clean blood, support liver function and much more. Around here people often use small sticks of neem tree to clean their teeth (the bark of neem is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory). The seeds inside neem berries can be used for making oil, which is widely used in production of cosmetics. This oil also has a use as natural insect repellent. Because neem is a fast growing tree it is also often used as firewood. Growing neem trees also makes the soil more fertile because the roots can grow very deep and bring minerals back to the surface of the ground.

Mahogany is a tree that is prized for the beautiful colour and texture of it’s wood. That is why it’s often used to make luxury furniture. Mahogany is a slow growing tree. We use the bark and sap of mahogany tree for medicine, especially to cure stomach pains. That is why when you see mahogany here, their trunks have many scars and holes in them. People routinely go to the tree to cut it and get medicine.

The Kapok tree has fruits that contain cotton like fibre. We use it to make pillows.

Eucalyptus is a tree uses up a lot of water from the ground, so people plant it to irrigate very wet areas.

After seeing all the plants and talking about them each student chose one tree and drew a picture of it also stating some of the uses of this tree.

With both classes 6a and 6b we read the letters from our friends from Kuristiku Gümnaasium and wrote letters about ourselves back.

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Zopeliga Primary School: story “Hawk and Hen”

With class 4 of Zopeliga Primary School we were telling folklore tales about different animals. Children knew a lot of stories and we had a good time listening to them. Then the students chose one story which we translated to English.

The story that we decided on is called “Hawk and Hen” and it’s about two friends: the hawk and the hen. They live together and both of them like to play drums. But the hen is a little bit lazy and doesn’t want to work or bring food to the house, she only wants to play drums. So because she is always lying about being sick to not do any work, the hawk gets angry with her and almost kills her one day. To save her own life hen promises to give one of her chick to hen every time she hatches a new set of baby hens. This is why hawk has been taking hen’s chicks ever since.

After doing the translation we divided the story into sections and each student participated in designing some part of our storybook. Some of us were drawing the illustrations, some were writing and some were making the page decorations.

The book turned out very nice and we’ll send it to our friends in Estonia to read.

Field trip with Zua Primary and Zua Junior High School.

On 19th of October 2016 the students from Zua Primary and Zua Junior High School embarked on a field trip to a nearby hill called Amuhizupelig. We were accompanied by teachers from both schools and by a member of our community who knows the area very well. His name is Baga’ant.

Before starting the trip we gathered together, said a prayer, sang a song and listened to instructions by our teachers.

While taking the trip, we collected different edible or otherwise useful plants and made short videos about them. The typical landscape around our school is quite flat, there are no big mountains or valleys. Because of that people can grow a lot of crops here. We saw fields of maize, millet, okra and other plants all around us. Also there are many useful trees such as shea trees or dawadawas. On the way we saw a lot of animals but only domesticated animals like cows, sheep and goats. No lions or elephants or crocodiles 🙂 As we got farther from the villages there were more grasslands, bushes and wild trees.

During the rainy season the trail we took is very hard to pass through but because by now the dry season is starting and there are no more heavy rains, it was easy enough to reach our destination. To reach the hilltop we had to make our own path through the high grass.

The view from the top of the hill was very beautiful, it’s possible to see all of the surrounding area from up there. We spent some time on the hill relaxing and playing games and then returned back to school. The trip itself was not so long: alltogether we walked for about two hours, but because of the hot weather and the sun we felt a little bit tired afterwards.

Back at the school we watched some videos of the field trips taken by our friends from Kolga school and wrote letters to them.

Ghanaian food event in Viimsi

Ghanaian food event in Viimsi
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At the beginning of June, just before the summer break, we held a Ghanaian food event. Pupils were really excited about the lesson. It wasn’t just about food. They actually felt connected. They have penfriends in Ghana. They had written letters to each other, and they had heard about Ghanaian everyday life and education system.
They already knew many things about Ghana so different from what we are used to in Estonia. Just to mention some, which made our pupils see new perspectives: not every child in Ghana can go to school, going to school can be seen as a privilege; extremely big classrooms, meaning up to 80 pupils in a class; pupils help to make their school lunches; very different hygiene opportunities; very different school buildings; many male teachers at schools. All this made our pupils think and discuss. One topic which was always very interesting was food. Food in Ghana seemed to be so different from ours. So, the pupils were very much looking forward to the Ghanaian food lesson.
First, we talked about food safety and discussed about how differently food can be seen and experienced in different places of the world. Then we played a fun Ghanaian-Estonian food game, where we learned about different foods. We learned about okra, and we found out that apples are not as usual in Ghana as they are in Estonia. We learned that blueberries are being seen as something very strange for Ghanaians, and they don’t know what is rye. However, they grow cacao and mangoes and bananas.
Then it was time to try to make something Ghanaian ourselves. We made Zoomkoom – a traditional Ghanaian welcome drink. First, we watched a video about locals in Kongo village making it, and then it was our turn. It was new and fun, even a bit funny. Well, we are not used to add chilli pepper to our drinks. Ginger and chilli pepper got everyone excited. Preparing the drink was a very unusual experience.
When Zoomkoom was finally ready, it was time to taste it and express opinions. We had learned that the first one to taste the food had to be the eldest lady in the house. Our pupils thought that the drink was sweet and strange and hot, but something that one could easily get used to.
The food lesson was a perfect ending for this year’s penfriend project. All pupils involved have learned and experienced so many new things, and they are looking forward to continuing with the project in autumn when they return from their summer break.

Read all the posts by Viimsi School.
Read all the post by students from Estonia.