Monday, April 28, 2014

Around the World Tea Party: Botswana

I still have a few Around the World Tea parties to show you, even though it feels like it all happened months ago now. This tea party took us to Botswana in southern Africa. I really wanted to do a Botswana tea party because I used to work with a non-profit that did most of its research in the country. When my supervisors would visit Botswana, they would often bring me back goodies like handwoven baskets and cloths, so I already had all the makings for a great tea party. 

Since there were no Five in a Row books set in southern Africa, I had to take my inspiration elsewhere. Jan Brett has several beautiful books set in Botswana and its neighbor Namibia. So we used Honey, Honey Lion and The Three Little Dassies as our books for this week. Homeschool Share had a great unit study for Honey, Honey Lion. If you've never checked out Jan Brett's website, you should. She has amazing free resources for all of her books. For this one, she had a full set of coloring sheets of African animals to make a mural.
We also read The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case by Alexander McCall Smith. I am a huge fan of McCall Smith's mystery series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which is set in Botswana. As part of my former job, I  had the opportunity to work at  book-signing event with McCall Smith. The other administrative assistants and I were huddled in a corner, clutching our copies of the book, and generally being nervous around a famous author, when Alexander McCall Smith walked right over and started chatting with us and signed our books. He was such a lovely guy; he has forever endeared himself to me. So it was fun to share his mystery for younger readers with the kids. Of course, if you have read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, you will recognize what a large part fruitcake plays in the book. So we had to make our own Botswana fruitcake and we had to have red bush tea. We also made an Africa peanut stew and Condensed Milk biscuits. We made the common American blunder of thinking these would be light and fluffy biscuits as a side for our stew, and instead they were sweet, crunchy cookies, but they were tasty!
The girls loved their costumes. They picked out colorful sundresses from the thrift store, and I retrofitted them with a few knots and stitches. My mom sent Trixie a dress with African animals for her birthday, which was perfect. As one of our activities, we made pattern beaded necklaces to wear with them. I also found a tutorial for doing African headwraps. which you can see in the top picture.

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