Showing posts with label Kenya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kenya. Show all posts

Oi Gets Lost -- Book Review, Cat Craft Round-Up & Giveaway


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am working with The Children's Book Review and Bright Light Books and will receive a small stipend for this post. All opinions are my own.

Do you have a cat lover in your house? We are all cat lovers here and have two cats in our household including a kitten (at least for a few more weeks). Most kids love animals including kittens. If you have an emerging reader you will want to check out today's book. It is Oi Gets Lost by Lorna Likiza and illustrated by Yeveheniia Melnyk. 

Global Kids: 50+ Games, Crafts, Recipes & More from Around the World -- Multicultural Children's Book Day Review

Disclosure: I was sent a set of these cards in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

For today's multicultural review I am sharing a neat set of cards to teach kids about different cultures of the world. It is Global Kids: 50+ Games, Crafts, Recipes & More from Around the World by Homa Sabet Tavangar and Sophie Fatus.  

Around the World in 12 Dishes--Kenya

Have you entered my current giveaway yet?

This month we are "traveling" to Kenya with Around the World In 12 Dishes. Now we have explored Kenya a bit before. Last week we found our Flat Stanley was in Kenya dressed as a Massai warrior. Then we had the pleasure of exploring Christmas in Kenya for the Christmas Around the World Series last year. And thanks to Andrea over at Ziezo, we were able to extend it with a book she sent us from Kenya last February. Finally last summer we exchanged postcards with Andrea's children and we shared a bit here.

Now Kenya is known for it animals and the savannah. How many people dream of going on a safari and let's face it, Kenya is where you do this. It is home to the lions, giraffes, elephants, leopards, buffalo, rhinoceros and many more. It is also home to the Massai, which is the group of indigenious people most recognized throughout the world due to their distinct clothes and jewelry. You can learn more about the Massai in our Flat Stanley post.

This month we did our normal exploring with some cooking, stories and music. We did not get a chance to do a craft yet, but we did for our Christmas post. The stories we read are from the three books pictured above. We of course also read the Christmas stories at Christmas time or when we got them. The best part of the Creation book is that there is also a story from Egypt in it and Egypt is our country to explore next month so we have a headstart already.
Music was a little harder to find, but we found some Kenyan songs on these CD's. We got all of our out of the library. Then we used the following books as references to learn more about Kenya and get ideas for what to make. Since we have already made kaimati and mandazi, I thought we would try something that was not a treat. In the book, A Kenyan Christmas by Auntie Kiko, I discovered how popular kale is in Kenya and thought it would be interesting to try a Kenyan kale dish. Now I like kale, but my family does not usually. Steve will eat it when it is cooked with other flavors. Hazel will barely try it (and she tries just about everything).

While looking for a kale recipe, I came across a recipe for irio. I decided to check and see what was available on line for irio and found this recipe from Serious Eats. There are slight difference between the various recipes I found, but I had all the ingredients in this one and knew my family would like it so I went with it. They loved it and asked me to make it again. Or course being made with peas, corn and potatoes--three of Hazel's and Steve's favorite vegetables basically guaranteed they would like it.

Then a few days later I made a recipe for sukuma wiki. Now sukuma wiki means stretch the week. Apparently most Kenyans grow kale or some sort of greens to use in this recipe. Again there was a huge variation in the recipes I found. Some used kale, some used collard greens or just called for any greens; some used fresh tomatoes and some used tomato paste; etc. I decided to go with this one on the Kitchn. For us it involved a trip to the farmer's market. We were able to get the kale and tomatoes there. I did not use cumin (only because I forgot to buy some and I am out of it). I liked the recipe and Steve said it was ok. Hazel did not like it though.

I am joining these amazing blogs to bring you Around the World in 12 Dishes and to include a blog hop where you can share your own recipes and activities! 

For the wonderful Kenya Passport that Glittering Muffins puts out click here and the wonderful Kenya Placemat is here.

Now it is your turn to share a recipe, craft, activity with a Kenyan theme. Or if you do not have one, you can check out the other great ones on this blog hop!

Our Virtual Flat Stanley is in Kenya!

Have you entered my current giveaway yet?

This month we are "traveling" with Around the World in 12 Dishes to Kenya and it seems only appropriate that is where our Flat Stanley is as well this month! This month's Flat Stanley comes from the children of Andrea at Ziezo - Crafting and Living in Kenya. Now in the past we have posted about Kenya. Our first was when Hazel did a post card exchange with Andrea's children. We also posted about Christmas in Kenya for the Christmas Around the World Blog Hop. Then we posted about a wonderful book, A Kenyan Christmas by Aunty Kiko which Andrea was kind enough to send me for my research on Christmas in Kenya. Since we have done a bit about Kenya itself and will do more next Tuesday for our Around the World in 12 Dishes post, I thought we would focus on the Maasai people there.

The Maasai (sometimes spelled Masai or Masaai) are an ethnic group of people in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. They are a well known group due to their location near many game parks in Eastern Africa and for their distinctive customs and dress. They are well known for their jewelry.
Although the governments of Kenya and Tanzania have programs to encourage the Maasai to give up their semi-nomadic way of life, they continue their old customs. The speak Maa, but are also educated in English and Swahili (the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania). 

The Maasai are a patriarchal group with the elder males sometimes making decisions for the entire Maasai group. They have a full body of oral law and most disputes are settled with a payment of cattle.  Many Maasai have become Christian and a lesser number Muslim. Their wealth is seen as the number of cattle and children. Their lives center around cattle since it is their main food source. Due to high infant death rates, children are not truly recognized until they are three moons. End of life is non-ceremonial with the Maasai. Bodies are left out for the scavengers. (Source)
Bridal Set of Necklaces (Source)

The Maasai live in a Kraal, which is a hut village or typically a group of huts surrounded by a stockade. (Source) The Maasai's is arranged in a circular fashion and the fence is made out of acacia thorns which keep the lions from attacking the cattle. It is the men's responsibility to build the fence and the women's to build the hut. Traditionally extended family share a Kraal, but with new land management system it is unusual to see a single family in a Kraal. The Inkajijik is the Maasai word for house. They are loaf shaped and made out of mud, sticks, cow dung, cow urine and grass. Women build the house as well as supply the water, collect firewood, milk the cattle, and cook for the family. Warriors are in charge of security while boys are in charge of the livestock care. With the arrival of formal schooling, the livestock care has become a parental responsibility while the boys are in school

Livestock is important to the economy of the Maasai. It is their primary source of income. The livestock they have are cattle, sheep and goats. A Maasai prayer is "May Creator give us cattle and children," or "Meishoo iyiook enkai inkishu o-nkera". 

The Maasai diet traditionally consists of meat, milk, and blood from the cattle. People drink blood on special occasions such as a circumcised person, a woman who gave birth or the sick and it is also used for intoxicated or hungover people. More recently the Maasai have become dependent on food produced other places like maize, rice, potatoes and cabbage. Some Maasai who live near crop farmers are forced to farm and use their own products as their main source of food. This is traditionally frowned upon by the Maasai since it is believed that tiling the ground is a crime against nature. (Source)

The Maasai hunt lions. It is a sign of bravery to hunt a lion in the Maasai culture. Due to a decrease in the number of lions though, they now have group lion hunts instead of solo ones. They are hoping to give the lions a chance to increase their numbers again. Since the Maasai believe females are the giver of life in any species they do not hunt the female lions. They also have laws against hunting lions hurt by drought, snared or poisoned.  From the lion they take the mane, tail and claws. The women take the mane and beautifully bead it and give it back to the warrior. When the warrior becomes a junior elder he must through away the lion mane, however first he treat it with respect by sacrificing a sheep and rubbing the mane with a mixture of sheep oil and ochre. (Source)
Warrior Shield for Lion Hunting (Source)

With that we will stop looking at the Maasai. Now you will have to wait until next month to see where Flat Stanley shows up. And if you are interested in hosting Flat Stanley where you live, please check out the information here.

Flat Stanley/Sophia So Far (top 3 are Hazel's)


Christmas in Kenya in February

You may remember I participated in Christmas Around the World and I shared about Christmas traditions in Kenya. Well after my post was published my friend, Andrea, from Ziezo - Crafting and Living in Kenya  and her Esty store, Ziezo, sent me a book one of her friends wrote. Now Andrea was a huge help in my previous post since there is not much available in the United States or on line about Christmas in Kenya. Her friend's book, A Kenyan Christmas by Aunty Kiko however is a wonderful resource, so I want to share it with you even though it is February and not near Christmas.
This is a wonderful story about a Kenyan girl named Akinyi. She cannot wait for Christmas (like all Christian children). It tells how she and her family prepare for Christmas. She is waiting for the short rains to end. She has helped her mother plant the garden with sweet potatoes and sukuma (kale) and is wondering about the plants as she listens to the rain fall on the tin roofs. When the sun finally comes out she notices jacaranda trees are bare and the hornbills have flown away.

Her family goes out shopping for Christmas gifts for family and friends. There are many Christmas fairs to shop at and the schools are closed and decorations fill the shopping centres. She also wonders abut Christmas Mama, Baba and Toto. I would guess they are the Kenyan equivalent to the American Santa Claus and they are pictured on the cover of the book.
Hornbill (Source)
Akinyi wonders what her family will do for Christmas. They may travel to the village to visit her grandfolks like so many Nariobians or go the beach for the New Year or go on a safari. She knows no matter what they decide it will be a special family time which will include new clothes and new shoes for the new year.
Kale (Source)

In the mean time, her family decorates a tree and then goes swimming and has long cool drinks. Nairobi begins to slow down as people leave to go visit their families in their villages. The buses leaving Nairobi do not have empty seats.
Our Mandazi

Finally it is Christmas. Every kitchen is full with happiness. The cupboards store juices and goodies. On Christmas morning her family has mandazi and sweet chai (see my original post for a recipe and our experience making mandazi). They sing a few songs and tell stories about Christmas and of course open their zawadi (gifts). Then they wait for their visitors whom they will feed.

Doesn't that sound like a lovely Christmas? Now, A Kenyan Christmas is available for sale, however I have had trouble finding an on-line site that sells it. Creative Parenting is the site to purchase it, but is in the middle of re-organizing. If you are interested in purchasing see the comment below from Aunty Kiko (the author).

Christmas Around the World - Christmas in Kenya

I joined an amazing group of bloggers put together by Beth at Living Life Intentionally to present Christmas Around the World. Each blogger is presenting how Christmas or a winter holiday is celebrated in different countries around the world. Some will be writing from their own experiences and some, like me, will be writing based on research. Today I present Christmas in Kenya.

Multicultural Monday: Learning about Kenya

Another part of learning acceptance of differences is understanding them. As such it is important to look at other cultures. In doing so you will find the similarities and differences between yourself and them and understand the people in the culture a bit better. Today we are looking at Kenya. Why Kenya, you may ask. Well, Hazel received a wonderful postcard from Kenya about a month ago.
Postcard from Kenya for Hazel
 Hazel and the children of Andrea of Ziezo Designs and Ziezo Kenya have been exchanging postcards so we could learn about another part of the world. I discovered Ziezo through Sharing Saturday (which is still open if you would like to share with us your child-oriented craft or activity). Looking through her wonderful blog, I discovered her children go to a Waldorf School and I thought it would be neat for Hazel to learn a bit about Kenya from other Waldorf students. So we added her second pen pal (her first being from Australia--Kelly's from Happy Whimsical Hearts son). (On a side note if you are interested in having your child exchange postcards with Hazel, please drop me an email.)
Kenya's Flag: Source
Map of Kenya: Source

For the flag and map as well as some more information I went to, the official page of the Kenyan Government. Kenya is 224,080 square miles which is just a bit smaller than the state of Texas. The official language of Kenya is English. The population is about 39 million (as of August 2010) and is very diverse. The majority of the population is Christian. They also have very different climates within the country although the equator passes through just about the center of Kenya.

Our first activity came from this book on Food and Festivals of Kenya by Wambui Kairi. We made kaimati, a small doughnut coated with sugar or coconut. They are eaten in Mombasa at a party at the Makadara Muslim Grounds to celebrate Id-ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month where Muslims fast during daylight hours. Therefore this festival is at night so it is dark.

To make kaimati we took one cup lukewarm milk (ok I microwaved it since didn't realize it needed to be lukewarm until we needed it), one teaspoon dried yeast and a pinch of sugar and put them all in a bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. I should add that our dough did not really rise so I think this may have been due to the wrong temperature for the milk and another little mistake we made.
Next Hazel beat an egg and added it to the yeast mixture. Hazel was a bit sloppy in her mixing and spilled a bit of the liquid (this was another minor mistake).

Then we mixed together 1 cup of flour and a teaspoon of salt (ok this is our second mistake. It was suppose to be 3 and 3/4 cups of flour!) Then we added the liquid and realized our mistake and added more flour. Then you get to mix with your hands and kneed a bit.
After adding the flour I found the mixture to be too dry (and would not mix in), so I added some more milk. It still was dry, but at least it was all mixed. Then you let it rise for two hours. (I went to church while it was rising.) Then you deep-fry it in oil by dropping spoonfuls into the oil. I used  canola oil in my large saute pan and ours was so dry I formed balls and dropped them in. When they came out you rolled them in sugar or grated coconut. I gave Steve the job of rolling. He actually liked them in both, but the coconut I bought was not fine enough for this.
Even with our mistakes, they were quite tasty. However I think I would try one of the recipes I found on line the next time. From Food Buzz. From the blog Kenyan Food. From Susan Kamau's Kenyan Kitchen (this one is most similar to the recipe I followed, but adds cardamom). I should add that we did go through the book and read the pages about Kenya's people and food and looked at all the different pictures throughout it. Hazel enjoyed this as well. (We did this during the ten minutes of letting the yeast turn frothy.)
Next we took a craft from Around-the-World Art & Activities by Judy Press. I was actually hoping to get two crafts from this book in today, but it didn't happen. Hazel was a bit tired and cranky between being sick and getting up early. We did however talk about the second craft which was to make zebras out of envelopes. I told her how Kenya was one of the places zebras live.

We made Masai "Beaded" Necklaces out of paper plates. This is a very easy craft. you cut a hole in the center of the plate trying to leave a wide brim. Then you are suppose to use the back of a paintbrush to make different color dots all over it. We did this in our family room so we used crayons on one and her dot markers on another. Hazel even let me get some pictures of her with them on. She hates when I take her picture unless I say it is for one of her grandparents.

The book did a nice job of saying the Masai men and women wear this very beautiful but very heavy jewelry. It also shows that the Masai live in Kenya and North central Tanzania. For more information about the Masai people please visit The Masai of Kenya site. To see pictures of these beautiful necklaces visit the Maasai Art and Beads Association site.

The final piece of information I will share with you today from Kenya comes from Hands Around the World by Susan Milord. This book has a different activity for each of the 365 days of the year to learn about different cultures. On January 14th it discusses the different customs in naming babies. Among some Kenyan groups a firstborn daughter is always named after her father's mother. A second daughter would be named after her mother's mother. I just found that interesting. It discusses many different cultures traditions. Most of it is for older children and this was the only mention of Kenya in the book, but definitely an interesting book.

What do you do to teach your child about different cultures and to be more accepting of diversity?

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