This month’s Poppins Book Nook theme is folk tales. We read folk tales, fairy tales, tall tales, and legends all the time. So for the theme, I wanted something really different. We traveled to Zimbabwe through stories.
Our preacher and his wife, Bobby and Nancy Wheat, were missionaries in Zimbabwe for many years, spreading the love of God while raising their family. They are dearly loved by the girls (as well as me and my husband) so we approached Mrs. Nancy about some folktales from Zimbabwe. This would allow us to experience a culture we were not familiar with and learning about life there first hand.
Mrs. Nancy loaned us our book for this month: Shangani Folk Tales, Volume I and II by C. Stockil and M. Dalton. It is a huge hit with the girls! The folk tales are about the animals, with volume I focusing on the sneakiness and foolery of the hare – Nwampfundhla – and volume II focusing on the tale about how different lessons or descriptions of how things came to be. The names of the animals in the stories are their Shangani names. This book was our read aloud for much of the month, reading a couple of the stories each night. We all loved the stories and it gave us a lot of fuel for discussion. Nwampfundhla is not exactly a nice hare and the girls were constantly rethinking what he “should” have been doing. If you are going to read this to younger kids, you will want to preread each story to decide if it is one you want to read to your children because there are some very mean, dangerous things that Nwampfundhla does to others. These are some of the names/words that we learned:
Chibodze – tortoise
Chingaungau – black-backed jackal
Denge – elephant shrew
Eyingwe – leopard
Gama – eagle
Gatawa – lilac-breasted roller
Goya – wild cat
Khala – lion
Khalayetswe – lioness
Khumba – bushpig
Libwatsani – nightjar
Litoho – monkey
Malamala – sable
Matengwane – fork-tailed drongo
Mboma – hippopotamus
Mhala – impala
Mhisi – hyaena
Ndhlovu – elephant
Nguluve – warthog
Nhongo – kudu
Nhungu – porcupine
Nwafene – baboon
Nwapfundhla – hare
Pau – ostrich
ukuku – cockerel
The names are quite difficult to sound out and I am not even sure that I did it right. I did do a good job of twisting my tongue up every night in trying to say them. We invited Mrs. Nancy to tea to talk with us about Zimbabwe and give us some language lessons. (We had the tea party but had to postpone our visit with Mrs. Nancy due to the oldest giggly girl being sick.)
For the tea party we looked up some recipes for bisuits (what they call cookies – there is an English influence there). We made some biscuits and some rusks. We also had some fruit and some vegetables. Additionally, we put tea and lemonade out to drink.
The biscuits that we made were yummy! They had lemon and sweet potatoe in them with a lemon glaze. The recipe came from Food.com. From a Squidoo search that I found, I saw that these biscuits were called Mbatata. These were a hit with the girls.
The rusks are a tough, dry cookie, somewhat like a biscotti, intended for dipping in tea or coffee. These have a fantastic flavor but they are very crunchy. The girls didn’t like them, even when we talked about how good they would be dunked in hot chocolate. Still, I recommend them but next time I won’t dry them out quite as much.
To augment our learning, we looked up some videos and pictures on the internet. Some of the things we viewed include:
Zimbabwe: A World of Wonders – this one is a tourism video but there isn’t too much in there and there is a lot of good footage of Zimbabwe in it.
Victoria Falls – a video about the magnificent Victoria Falls.
Our Africa – a website that features Africa; we view the Zimbabwe portion.
Dindingwe song – video featuring the Dindingwe (cheetah)
Zambezi River song – video segment (not complete song) about the Zambezi River
Penduka Nzou video – video about elephants; penduka (turn around) nzou (elephant)
And, of course, we had additional books around us on Zimbabwe.
Thank you for joining us for our study of Zimbabwe folk tales this month. Be sure to visit the Poppins Book Nook to see what folk tales other hosts and their families studied this month and to get a copy of Enchanted Homeschooling Mom’s lapbooking freebies to go along with each of the monthly themes.
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