Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Week 23: Zimbabwe

Let's visit Zimbabwe!

Ok, I need to get back on track here, we've (me mostly) have been slacking off, so it's time to crack the whip!  CRAAAACK!  I can't believe it's already the new year! 2013,  hopefully a year of wonderful new ideas and some peace around the world.  The kids and I were talking about what country we should do this week and so I was throwing out some names- the Philippines, Japan, Zimbabwe.
"ZIMBABWE!", they sang (over and over again) and so that is where we are headed.  To the landlocked country in Southern Africa with the fun name!!  Now if you have no idea where Zimbabwe is, and your map or globe is older than 1980, you might have a very dificult time finding it!  Prior to it's independence from the United Kingdom in 1979, it was known as Southern Rhodesia, after Cecil Rhodes, a South African businessman who "obtained" the mining rights to the land from the tribal king, Lobengula, in 1888.  When the country gained back it's independence (after a long fight) it took the name Zimbabwe, after the 11th century city, the Great Zimbabwe.  The name means "great houses of stone" in the native Shona language of the people.  The capital city is Harare, it's coordinates are 17.85°S/31.05°E - that should make it easier to find on the map :) 

Aside from the great and wonderful animals of Africa, there are a few things that make Zimbabwe special.  There is Victoria Falls, locally called Mosi-oa-Tunya (Smoke that Thunders), the largest curtain of water falling in the world!

There are the Balancing Rocks, one of the national symbols of Zimbabwe, and a great example of the awesomeness of the geological world.

The archeological namesake of the country, the Great Zimbabwe, is also fun to explore!  The stone carvings of birds, called the Zimbabwe Bird is another of the national symbols.

We'll talk about these, try some new foods, and learn a few new phrases in the Shona language this week.  Hope you join us!!