WHEN DID THE FIRST HUMANS APPEAR ON EARTH?

Eastern Africa home of the first human beings?

WHEN DID THE FIRST HUMANS APPEAR ON EARTH?

The first humans lived on the plains of East Africa about 4-6 million years ago.

LATER SHELTERS

People lived simply under trees and in bushes, while some lived in caves.

 

Later, some used mud and sticks and grass to build shelters.

The first cities were built by Sumerians on the floodplains of the Mesopotamia and along the Indus Valley between what is now parts of Pakistan and India.

The Indus Valley

LARGER CITIES

These were built around Alexandria in Egypt and the ancient Greek city of Ephesus.

After many years, the Romans were able to carry water through pipes and add drainage so that the cities were cleaner.  They also made primitive central heating.

EARLY FARMERS

If we go back 9,000 years, experts tell us that there is evidence of farmers growing barley, millet, wheat and oats.

They would have used digging sticks to plant the seeds.  A longer and sharper tool would have been used to cut the grass.  It was called a scythe.

Scythe

IRAQ AND EGYPT

People living in Mesopotania (modern day Iraq and Egypt invented the plow.  It might have been pulled by humans until they hitched up aniamls such as horses or oxen.

THE DISCOVERY OF FIRE

About one million years ago, early humans discovered fire.  They became healthier as they could cook their meat and avoid germs when meat was left uncooked.  They used the fire for heat and to scare away wild animals.  Later, fire was used to melt metal for spears.

THE INVENTION OF THE WHEEL

The first wheels were used by potters to make vases and pots.

This was about 3,500 BCE in Mesopotamia.   About 3,200 BCE or 300 years later, the wheel was used in a wheelbarrow and in chariot wheels.

FIRE AND TOOL MAKING

Early humans heated up stones and then chipped away at them to make blades and tools that were sharp that could penetrate things.

Archeologists working in South Africa have discovered a cave that shows these skills some 800,000 years ago.   About 100,000 years ago in several countries there are examples of fire being used to make ceramics.

Metal working with fire seems to have taken place 100,000 years ago.  These metals that came from fire heating could be used in the making of spears or for knives that could have been fitted into wood and secured there.

Indian Schools – On a Train Platform or Under a Bridge

INDIAN SCHOOLS ARE CROWDED

After China, India has the biggest population of any country.  The Indian government and parents want all children to be educated, but this is not possible for a number of reasons.  There are more children than schools!

Imagine a country with more children then schools.  Some families are so poor that children have to work, although this is illegal.  Schools are incredibly overcrowded, but to escape poverty and get good jobs in the future, parents and students are willing to suffer this overcrowding.

Train platform schools

Children attend school on train platforms across India

These schools across India help the poorest of children to get an education.  There are over 4,000 students whose classroom is a railway platform.

Under the bridge 

This school is based beneath a very busy road

This school in India  is organised by volunteers for poor children who aren’t enrolled in the school system. It is located in the city of New Delhi and situated beneath an overpass. Volunteers teach children the basics of reading, numeracy (numbers) and English. The school has been going for 10 years and has about 300 students.

So what do you think about these two stories?  Remember that India also has excellent schools that graduate doctors, engineers and other professional people.  India is a country that has rich and poor and those who fit in between.   Make sure that you appreciate school.  And maybe, in the future, you might like to volunteer or help as a professional person in developing countries.

Buddhist Students and the Sacred (Holy) Lotus Plants.

The Buddha with lotus plants

We don’t have to be a follower of the Buddhist religion to learn  about the man called the Buddha and his connection to the Lotus plant.

All religious leaders have used nature to give lessons to humans.

The Buddha was an Indian prince who later became a monk.  Monks, priests, rabbis and other religious leaders spend their lives helping people.

The Buddha was such a kind and happy person that his preaching led to many men joining him as monks.

Buddhist monks

Like Jesus, the Buddha used flowers to give teachings to his followers so that they could become better human beings.

Why Did the Buddha Pick the Lotus Plant?

The Lotus plant grows everywhere in Asia where the Buddha and later his monks travelled: India, Sir Lanka, Thailand, China and Japan (just to mention some Buddhist countries).

The Lotus plant often grows in muddy ponds, lakes and rivers.  It’s roots are in the mud, yet it is able to bloom into a clean and beautiful plant.   The message is that when can start in the mud (bad habits, unkindness, etc) but we can become a beautiful and clean blossom with kindness, good actions, honesty and truth.

The Lotus Plants – Buddhist Symbol

L

The Lotus plants come in many colours.  The Buddha used each colour to remind his followers that each colour should have a meaning in their lives.

A white lotus flower – reminds people to have a pure mind that does not concentrate on hate or doing bad things.

A red lotus flower – reminds people to have compassion (pity) and love in their hearts for everyone.

A blue lotus flower – reminds people to be wise and to think and act carefully.  Our actions always affect ourselves and others.

A pink lotus flower – reminds people to remember the actions and life of the Buddha.  People should read his words and act like he did in his lifetime.

A purple lotus flower – reminds people of their spirit – people are flesh and there is a spirit inside of everyone.  Our bodies die, but our spirits go on to eternity (heaven).

A gold lotus flower is usually found in paintings and statues. Yellow lotus plants can remind people of the gold lotus.  It is total love for God, people and nature.  It means thinking of others before thinking of yourself.  It is a peaceful plant that makes friends.

Buddhist School Children

Buddhist children will have images of the Buddha in their classrooms and probably in the school yard there will be ponds with Lotus growing.

Those of us that are not Buddhists, can look at our own wild flowers – see their colours – and match them to the Buddha’s teachings.   All religions practise a love of God and a love for every person.

“Return to Pooh Corner” – Lyrics by Kenny Loggins

“Return To Pooh Corner”

Christopher Robin in the 1920s
Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon
Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore
As our days disappeared all too soon
But I’ve wandered much further today than I should
And I can’t seem to find my way back to the Woods
So help me if you can
I’ve got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
You’d be surprised
There’s so much to be done

Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky

Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh
Winnie the Pooh doesn’t know what to do
Got a honey jar stuck on his nose
He came to me asking help and advice
From here no one knows where he goes

 


So I sent him to ask of the Owl if he’s there
How to loosen a jar from the nose of a bear

Christopher Robin’s real house where he grew up as a boy

Help me if you can
I’ve got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one


You’d be surprised
There’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh

It’s hard to explain how a few precious things
Seem to follow throughout all our lives
After all’s said and done I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side
So I tucked him in, I kissed him and as I was going
I swear that the old bear whispered “Boy welcome home”

Believe me if you can
I’ve finally come back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one


What do you know
There’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin
Back to the ways of Christopher Robin
Back to the days of Pooh

by Kenny Loggins

Baby Elephant Orphans Find Loving Home in Kenya

 

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a home for orphan elephants.

It is located in Kenya, Africa.

The continent of Africa with many countries. Kenya in green is one of Africa’s countries.

Elephant tusks are made of ivory and while getting ivory means killing an elephant, some people still use ivory as jewelery.  While poachers are often killed or put in prison, the huge money for killing elephants for ivory is a chance that poachers take.

The Elephant Orphanage

David Sheldrick lived for many years and rescued elephants and rhinos whose mothers were killed for their tusks.  He is now dead but his wife, Daphne, runs the orphanage.

David Sheldrake
David always had a love for all African wildlife

Dame Daphne Sheldrick

Queen Elizabeth II has honoured Daphne by calling her a “Dame” to put before her first name.  Daphne, like her husband,  has devoted her life to caring for orphaned animals, particularly baby elephants.

Daphne has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth with the title of “Dame”
Dame Daphne

Orphan Elephants

Orphans arrive at the Sheldrick home in a frightened and hungry condition.  They have witnessed humans kill their mothers and so they are frightened and have to learn to trust the kind workers at the Sheldrick orphange.

Little elephants soon learn that these workers are their friends. They get food and blankets to keep them warm. Their keepers often sleep with them to keep them company.

During the day, their keepers also play with them and take them for walks.  The elephant nursery can have babies that are two months to one year old.

Tourists Help

Tourists are welcome for one hour in the morning.  The entrance fee is about $5 USA dollars which is about 4 pounds sterling or 4.50 euros.  This is a very small charge.  Limiting tourists to just one hour makes sure that the babies do not get stressed and it gives the keepers an opportunity to do their other work.

Adopt an Orphan Elephant

A class or school can adopt an elephant for $50 USA dollars. Sometimes, a family can adopt one – that would include grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and brothers and sisters.

A picture of your adopted elephant will go next to the map of Africa

The Sheldrick orphanage also adopts and cares for animals other than elephants.

Legend: Man Forced to Build Great Wall: Girlfriend Cries

Great Wall Legends and Myths

http://www.chinahighlights.com/greatwall/culture/

The majestic Great Wall was built with wisdom, dedication, blood, sweat and tears. Many legends and myths exist regarding the building of the Great Wall.  Many people died building it.

Meng Jiang Nü Weeping Over the Great Wall

This story of love and devotion was set in the time of the Qin Dynasty Great Wall.

A girl named Meng Jiangnü helped a man escape from building the Great Wall.  He had been forced into slavery in order to build it.  She hid the man called Fan Xiliang . Later he was found, captured, and returned to forced labor at a Great Wall construction site.

Meng Waits for Her Husband.

Meng Jiangnü waited day and night for her husband. Winter came, but Fan Xiliang failed to return. Meng Jiangnü sewed some warm clothes to take her husband. When she arrived with the clothes, she was told that Fan had died and his body was built into the Great Wall.

Meng Stays and Weeps

Meng Jiangnü stayed by the wall and wept for days and nights. Deeply moved by the girl’s bitter weeping, the gods made the part of the Great Wall collapse and  Meng  finally found Fan Xiliang’s body.

The Temple of Meng Jiangnü can be found 5 km northeast of the Shanhai Pass Great Wall Fortress.

 

The Great Wall of China – Great Facts For Kids

In these dark days of political fighting – world wide- I just want to blog a week about places and people and the beauty of this world.

This blog is taken from my site http://childrenandteensstoriestomotivateandinspire.com

 

The first men and women in space saw it from their space crafts.  I am writing about The Great Wall of China.

Great Wall seen from space
Great Wall seen from space

The wall was built over many years starting as early as 7th century BCE.  It is composed of stone, brick, pressed earth, wood and other materials.  It runs from east to west and was built as a fort to keep invaders outside.

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The Ming family ruled as leaders and it was during this time that most of The Great Wall was built also to gather taxes as China was famous for its inventions of silk, paper and gunpowder.  From the watch towers built along The Great Wall, soldiers could see enemies or traders.

How Long is the Great Wall?

The Great Wall stretches from Dandong in the east to Lop Lake in the west.  The Ming walls are 6,259 km (3,889 miles) of actual walls plus natural hills, trenches and rivers that kept enemies out of China.  Put all these together – the actual walls and the natural barriers and some archaelogists say that all these foritifications measure 21,196 km or 13,171 miles.

The Great Wall is a great tourist site where visitors from all around the world come to see it.  However, it is also visited by Chinese who want to be proud of their heritage.

Pink Amazon River Dolphins: Facts for Kids

Amazon basin – green shows the river and the jungle

 

PINK AMAZON RIVER DOLPHIN FACTS

You may have been lucky to sea dolphins swiming and leaping out of the ocean, but few people have seen river dophins.  In fact, few people proabably seen PINK DOLPHINS.

There are five species of river dolphin, but I’m going to tell you about Pink Dolphins.  They are called by different names – Boto, Boutu, or simply Amazon River dolphins.

River and Ocean Dolphins:

River dophins are only distantly related to sea dolphins.  They belong to different families.  The Amazon River Dolphin lacks a dorsal fin, but rather has a low ridge along the back

The Intelligent Pink Dolphins:

Pink dolphins are the most inteligent of all river dolphins.  Their brain size is 40% larger than humans.  They swim not only in the Amazon River but other rivers in South America like the Orinoco and Madeira Rivers.  They are not just pink, but some are light gray or brown.

Rivers flow through Brazil and into Peru

 

Pink dolphins inhabit the Amazon River, but they can also be found in the Orinoco basins and the upper Madeira River as well. While they are mostly pink, these dolphins have various colored skins, which can be light gray, pink, or brown.  Some pink dolphins become ‘pinker’ when excited – just like humans who blush! The Amazon pink dolphin is the largest population of river dolphins – the others are close to extinction.

Mining and Mercury

The mining industry uses mercury which seeps into rivers.  Mercury poisons dolphins.  Boats on the Amazon can also kill or injure dolphins with their sharp propellers.  Pink dolphins have pretty good eye sight, but other river dophins are almost blind due to pollution and muddy waters. River dolphins have looks like fingers on the end of their flippers and dorsal fins – sea dolphins do not.

What Do Pink Dolphins Eat?

The long noses or snouts that have sensory hairs on them, allow the Pink dolphins to hunt at the bottom of rivers.  There they eat crabs and turtles.

Otherwise, they are nearer the surface  hunting in packs and rounding up fish.

Breeding

When a female is between 6-10 years of age, she is ready to become a mother.   After a gestation period of 11 months, she will give birth to one calf.  It will stay with its mother for up to two years.  Females only breed (give brith) once every four or five years.  This spaced out breeding allows the entire Pink doophin population to have more food.

Chinese Students Have Very Long School Days

The older a Chinese student becomes, the longer the school day. At the age of seven a Chinese boy or girl starts school. Outside of big cities, school starts at 8 am and finishes at 3 p.m.  They start to learn Chinese, math, geography and simple science right away.  In grade three, they learn English.  They learn about Chinese heroes who were good people.

It’s Tough Getting Into the Right High School

Seven out of ten students who take the high school test get to go to a ‘good’ high school.  There is a lot of pressure in the later years of elementary school on students at school – and pressure from parents at home.  Parents spend money on tuitoring in math, gymnastics and music after school.  This is done to increase a student’s chance to get into ‘good’ high schools.  Richer parents can make large donations to certain schools to try and influence high schools to admit their kids.  Elementary school also includes sciences.

Middle School – 

When a student does qualify for a ‘good’ high school, the pressure is not off.

Some get to school at 7 a.m for an hour of English or Chinese.  During this hour, students are required to read aloud to teachers.  School then begins at 8 a.m and finishes at 5 p.m.  There is a dinner break, which is shortened to an hour.  Then at 6 p.m there is physical fitness.   The school day is NOT over and there is evening school or study halls.  Here students can get help in physics, chemistry, biology and political science.

College and University

Only 1 in 3 students will go on to University.  There is a one shot exam where you pass or fail.  This causes extreme tension and anxiety.  In high school these students have attended school up to 11 p.m at night and have got up the next day to start school at 7 a.m.  Lack of proper sleep time is common.

Child Chimney Sweeps – Not SO “Mary Poppins”!

 Chimney Sweeps – Victorian Child Labour

The Older Queen Victoria

I would like to take you back 180 years in time.  The country is Great Britain and a baby girl, named Victoria is born in 1837.  She lived for many years as Queen.

Tough Life for Kids

Kensington Palace where Victoria lived as a child

While Victoria was a young child, she lived in a lovely house with servants.  She had the best education, lovely clothes and had the best medical care if she fell sick.

 

When Victoria was only 2 years of age, children as young of six were being used as chimney sweeps.  The houseowner did not have electricity so coal was used.  After many fires coal dust or soot would collect and start to block the chimney.  It was the job of the chimney sweeps – mostly boys – to go down the chimneys which were very narrow and knock away the soot.

It was a very dirty and dangerous job.  Kids could get stuck.  After climbing up and down several times the chimney sweep boy would have to collect all the soot in the fireplace that had fallen down.  They would work long hours that included Saturdays.  They seldom had clean clothes.  Life was hard for them.

Parliament Makes New Laws

When Victoria was 3 years of age (and not Queen) Parliament made it a law that no one under the age of 21 years could go down chimneys.  Many head chimney sweeps disobeyed the law and in 1875, when Victoria was now Queen, a 12 year old boy died when his boss made him clean a hospital chimney.  Everyone, including the Queen was shocked because she now had children of her own.

Now a new law came out that required all Master Chimney sweeps to register with the police.  More checks were made so that no kids were hired to go down chimneys.

Somewhat Better Lives for Kids

When it was now the law not to send kids down chimneys, their health improved.  Before this new law, kids had lung diseases as the soot entered the lungs.  Some died of cancer of the lungs.

Now, kids had a chance of going to school instead of working.

The long hours that kids worked in the mines, in factories and as young servants were reduced.  However, it took many, many more years until kids were required to go to school full time.  With better education, many kids were able to help their families with higher paying jobs.

Child Labour in Other Countries

Please take your education seriously and do your best.  This will help you in the future.  I just want you to know that there is still child labour in many countries of the world.  You can join a club at school or in your church/synagogue/mosque/temple to help children go to school in these countries.