Kids Learn Survival Skills

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK A group of 22 children sat on the ground fascinated by the creativity of the beadworks of the San people. While the girls were busy with the work, the boys were out in the field making huts with mud mixed with cow dung, and learning how to use bows and arrows. Such creative activities are part of the Emma Hoogenhout Primary School’s educational mission to teach Grade 6 learners the interesting aspects of nature conservation, while at the same time testing their leadership qualities after they were chosen as prefects at their school. This educational tour took place recently at the tourism attraction site of Abadi Lodge, which is situated between Okahandja and Karibib. “The purpose of the tour is to teach the children about survival in the bush, to see how people like the San live in the wilderness and using nature as a source of livelihood,” said teacher Draga Boskovic upon completing the trip. Nowadays, it happens that most school children, especially those in the city, have become ignorant of life in rural areas. The educational tour to Abadi was an attempt to bring learners in touch with nature and knowing the importance of survival in the wilderness. Relief teacher at the school Anna Marie Niipare said “most children are westernized and used to the modern way of life, not knowing that there are other aspects to life in rural areas”. It is in this way that the teachers can at the same time nurture strong leadership qualities for the children as they go about doing their nature conservation tasks. At this specific event, the children were first divided into four groups. Each group consisted of 22 learners as well as a teacher and a group leader. Under the innovative names of “The Cheetahs, Jaguars, The Bushman Warriors and Boskovic Mafioso”, the learners spent their time productively. The activities included catching birds in the wilderness using hand-made bird traps of the San people; how to save water using Ostrich egg shells; making coffee from special roots of certain types of trees; as well as finding out how one could get medicine from animal faeces and special tree roots. “Survival is the key here and it is important for the children to see how other Namibians like the San can survive in their natural environment,” said Boskovic, adding that she was also willing to take the children to Europe one day, especially her home country of ex-Yugoslavia, now Serbia Montenegro. Since Emma Hoogenhout Primary School’s establishment 103 years ago, it has always made such educational trips for its learners an annual priority. Previously, the children have been to historical and memorable sites like the Heroes Acre, Monuments and Parliament Buildings – as part of their educational development. From February and March next year a similar leadership and nature conservation tour would be organised for the learners to visit Abadi Lodge, whilst they are expected to travel to Europe during April-May.