Monday, August 20, 2012

Take a trip...

Field Trip:  Photo Safari

I don't know about you, but I would love to go on a safari in Africa.  See the animals in their real environments and not just hanging out, bored at the zoo.  I have a friend that went to Africa  as part of a missionary group and spent a few days on Safari.  I think it changed her life.  But, my reality is that I have 2 small kids, very limited funds and no prospect of getting to Africa anytime soon.  Plus, my friend had to get like 15 shots and take malaria pills so that kinda turns me off too.  So for our little field trip we went to the Oakland Zoo.  The zoo in SF is a good zoo but pretty generic, the Oakland zoo has an African theme throughout most of it and a replica of an East African hut.  Now I know we are learning about South Africa but I figured the kids wouldn't be able to tell the difference :)  So lets pretend we are visiting Kruger National Park, the oldest wildlife sanctuary in Africa (started in 1898) and one of the largest at 6.2 million acres.  While Kruger has over 500 bird species and 147 different mammals, we found a good variety ourselves (except for the lions who were hiding)!!
Replica of East African Women's Hut
and (below) some interesting taboos

Reticulated Giraffe

Common Eland

Grant's Zebras


African Elephant

 and this bad boy- a fossil of a croc-like dinosaur that used to live in Africa 112 million years ago! The sarchosuchus!!

All those animals and I didn't have to fight off malarial mosquitos and spend $$$$ (well except on snacks!!)

Week 5!! South Africa

Week 5 -  Welcome to the Republic of South Africa!

Wow, I can't believe we're already on week 5!! I hope people are enjoying our adventure as much as I am- please leave me some comments or suggestions on projects, recipes or countries you'd like to visit.  This is all go-with-the-flow and if there's stuff you'd like to see I'm there!!  This week we decided to go south, South Africa that is.  Interesting country, lots of different ethnic groups (30!) so lots of different influences, 11 different official languages, and a history of deep racial prejudice :)  South Africa has a lot to talk about!!

Located at the very southern tip of Africa, the capital city of Pretoria (there are actually 3 capital cities) is located at 29º12' S/ 28º10' E  on your world maps.  Archeologists have found human fossils in the area of South Africa dating back 3,000,000 years, making it considered by some as the Cradle of Humankind. It is also sometimes called the "Rainbow Nation" due to the 30 different ethnic groups that are living in South Africa.  The democratic government includes all of the different ethnicities but it has not always been so.  Between 1948 - 1990, the practice of Apartheid was the cause of much racial division.  The segregation among the black Africans and the English-speaking whites and Afrikaaners (descendants of Dutch settlers) meant that the native black population was living in poverty while the white colonists were getting rich off the county's wealth of diamonds and gold.  Since President de Klerk abolished apartheid the country has worked very hard and successfully to regain a peaceful equality.  The flag of South Africa represents that idea.

The green band is said to represent the joining of seperate ideas as they begin a new road. I admire the attitude and the willingness of the people to join together as one.