NOT a Country, a Continent: AFRICA.
Africa. The land that steals your heart and changes you on subatomic levels. For me this is true, and yet my experience of Africa was so seemingly different than that which comes to mind, for I first set foot in Rabat, Morocco — North Africa. My Africa is not one of the beautifully dark-skinned tribesmen taming jungles with machetes. My Africa flowed with rich silks wrapped against heat and sandstorms, fragrant mint tea, and the lightning quick languages of Arabic, Berber, and French.
It was January of 2002, snow drifts stretching a mile high—so it appeared to me—along the streets (the biggest drift of snow I’d experienced prior was a freak storm my first year of life that dropped enough of the white powdery stuff for my dad to make a snowman as tall as I and take a picture). This land of ancient buildings and traditions did steal my heart, the people as fierce in honor and pride as they are in hospitality and learning. As my first international excursion, the five months I spent studying in Morocco ran the gamut of initial infatuation—to homesickness—to a determination to return, and quickly.
The story ends well. I was able to return to Morocco the following summer for a couple weeks. Since then, however, Africa has remained a hope for the future. So it was a joy and delight to revisit the continent last week with the Summer Book Club. We focused on the book, Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain retold by Verna Aardema and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal.
Written in verse, a refrain is established and then the story built around it—done so engagingly that by the third or fourth time through the refrain my 3 & 4yr-old were chanting along! The pictures are vivid and help bring the poem to life. The Summer Book Club shares videos each Monday, and the kids were excited to catch glimpses of the grasslands and herds depicted by Vidal come to life in one of those videos.
Letting our summer sunshine on Africa last week was exciting and enriching. This week we “travel” to Europe, with some fantastic books ahead of us! Stay tuned, the journey is just beginning.