China’s School in a Cave – Operated for 23 Years.

CAVE SCHOOL:  The school closed, but the kids still don’t have a school!

How do you get to school?  Do you take the school bus, walk, ride your bike or are you driven by car?  Do you like to learn?   Here is a story about kids in a poor province of China that were willing to walk up to three hours to get to school.  When they got to class – it was in a CAVE.  The school had been going for 23 years, but then the government closed it down.  They said that “China isn’t a society of cave men.”  They have not opened another school.  Maybe this will make you feel more grateful to have a school in your neighbourhood?

School had its own basketball court

How the School Started

Donzhong is in Guizhou which is one of China’s poorest provinces.  When the government was slow to provide a school, the local villagers started a school in a local cave.  In 1984 the school started with 8 teachers and 186 students.  The school was shut down in 2007, but the ex-principal has great memories of it.  The cave had great acoustics so that they had one of the best choirs in their province.  He said that they needed need books for biology as the cave had bats and rats.

Closed Down but No School Yet.  Where was the school?

It is 2017 as I write about this cave school and I have not been able to find out if the villagers have another school.  Let’s hope that the eager children of this village will be able to get an education.  Every child in this world deserves to have an education.

Kiwi Kids Celebrate an Indian Hindu Festival

It is wonderful when schools and communities share and celebrate other cultures.   Here in New Zealand families from the town of Marlborough, children from Te Kupenga Preschool, welcomed their own grape festival by celebrating the Holidays festival.

Rainbow of Colours

Khloe-Rose Fishburn, of Te Kupenga Preschool, celebrates the Holi festival with a splash of colour.

It looks like a lot of fun.


Spreading the colourful love at the Holi festival at Te Kupenga Preschool.

The Holi Festival is about celebrating the love you have for other people.


Children from the preschool shrieked in delight as they threw handfuls of the powder into the air and at each other.  Well done to everyone.


Russian Nesting or Stacking Dolls

Here are two maps of Russia:

If you visit Russia, you will see lots of these stacking dolls that go inside one another.  Here is a picture below.

They are called    “Matryoshika” or “babushka” dolls.   The word “babushka” means  grandmother.

Here are some facts about the Matryoshika dolls.

1. The idea of a nesting or stacking idea came from Japan.

2. The first Matryoshka wooden stacking doll was made by Vasily Zvyozdochlin and painted by Sergey Malyutin in 1890

3. The first painted stacking doll was of a mother and her seven children.

The Different Cultures in Russia

Russia is a very big country.  There are people who look different from one another.  The people who live outside of the cities are mostly farmers.  The women often use their cultural clothes.  They are proud of their ancestors. The stacking dolls show the different clothes.

For Girls: Air India’s All Female Flight Crew


International Women’s Day is held every year on March 8th.  This happens because girls and women do not have the same rights and opportunities in many countries.  You may be aware that Malala, a Pakistani girl, was shot in the head just for going to school.


Air India and an All-Women Crew

On March 5, 2017, Air India decided to do something very special for International Women’s Day.  A plane was flown from India to California and back to India by four female pilots and a crew of all women.  In fact, this plane flew around the world.  Here are the four women pilots:

       The four female pilots of the huge plane

This Was Not a Small Plane

This is one of the biggest planes in the world.  It had to show that women pilots could do the job.  In fact, everything about the flight was operated by women.  There were:

1) Women Engineers that checked the engines

2). Women who fuelled the plane

3) Women traffic controllers around the world who made sure the plane took off and landed at various places

The Long Flight that Went Around the World.

When you look at a flat map – you can see the flight that started in India and flew to California.    But, in reality, pilots take a global route that looks like this….flights are often over the north pole.

This is NOT a Competition Between Females and Males

If you are a boy reading this, try and understand that it is not a competition.  Girls and boys are equal – both have good brains, but unfortunately, in many parts of the world – boys get better education and better chances to do things.  This all female flight was to encourage girls around the world to fulfill their dreams.  Like boys, girls can go to school and become doctors, lawyers, scientists, pilots, engineers, inventors, writers, sports stars.

And to the girls – hope you enjoyed this article.  And dream – and study and become who you want to be NOW and in the future.

A Whole New World: Lyrics from Aladdin

Here are the words to the Aladdin World.   

I chose this song because it helps a student’s imagination.  It also offers a young person a chance to discover that people are unique.  Aladdin takes a carpet ride to show that people are different in their clothes, food and homes.  Yet, humans are also the same – they love, share, smile and want their children to have a good education.


I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did you last let your heart decide
I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming

A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But now from way up here
It’s crystal clear
That now I’m in a whole new world with you
Now I’m in a whole new world with you

Unbelievable sights
Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky

A whole new world
Don’t you dare close your eyes
A hundred thousand things to see
Hold your breath it gets better
I’m like a shooting star
I’ve come so far
I can’t go back to where I used to be

A whole new world (every turn a surprise)
With new horizons to pursue (every moment red-letter)
I’ll chase them anywhere
There’s time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you

] ]

A whole new world
That’s where we’ll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me

Lyrics compiled by

Lyrics from “Aladdin”
Written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice

Aladdin and Jasmine

The 9 Year Old Pharaoh known as Tutankhamun or Tut

Tutankhamun or King Tut (as many call him) was born in Egypt and ruled as Pharaoh (King) from around 1332 to 1323 BC or about  3360 years ago.

When Tut was nearly 9 years of age he became a Pharaoh.  He had a teacher so that he would be well educated

A Young Ruler

It is recorded that the young Pharaoh was often immature and had a temper.

It was necessary for powerful men to advise him and help him to grow up to be calm and wise.

Making Changes
When Tutankhamun was 13 years of age, he and his advisors made huge changes in Egypt. When Tut became Pharaoh, Egyptians worshipped a god named ATEN.  Now as Pharaoh, Tut ordered that the new god AMUN replace ATEN. He also stated that he was the new god Amun and as a god he ordered everyone to worship him.

Death of Tut:

Tut’s gold coffin

Pharaoh Tutankhamun died at the age of 18 years.  How he died is uncertain.  In the  year 1922 an English man named Edward Carter found his tomb with the magnificent death mask.  A death mask is done by placing a mould on the dead person’s face.  This image is then painted or in Tut’s case made of gold.

Death mask of Tutankhamun


Martin Strel: Swam the Entire Amazon River (5,268 km or 3,273 miles)

Martin Strel was born in Slovenia in 1954.  He is a long distance swimmer who has swam the entire length of  some of the world’s longest rivers.  These records were confirmed by the Guinness World Records organisation.

Here are the rivers:

2000—Danube  (3,004 kilometres (1,867 mi)) in 58 days

2002—Mississippi  (3,885 kilometres (2,414 mi)) in 68 days

2003—-Argentina Paraná River (3,998 kilometres (2,484 mi))

2004–Yangtze   (4,003 kilometres (2,487 mi), the longest river in Asia, and 3rd longest river in the world.

2007—Amazon  (5,268 kilometres (3,273 mi) -longer than the width of the Atlantic ocean.  It took him 66 days.  The boats that accompanied him poured blood into the Amazon to distract flesh eating fish!

Martin has stated that the Nile is not challenging enough for him.

Why Does He Do it?

Obviously because it is a great accomplishment.  His motto is “”swimming for peace, friendship and clean waters.”

See his documentary, “Big River Man.”



Jabari and the African Animals




Dear Reader,

I am taking you on an African ranger patrol.  They look after the animals on the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania.  They are also watching for poachers who kill animals.  In this story, there will be a shoot-out between the rangers and the poachers.  It is better that we are invisible so we won’t get hurt.  Being invisible allows us to travel with three great rangers named Jabari, James and Ahmed.  Jabari is the leader and he likes to sing and tell great African stories.  You will learn that there was a time when humans had no stories.  They belonged to the Sky-God and Anansi the Trickster-Spider wanted them.  The Sky-God gives Anansi three great challenges.  Later, around the campfire, Jabari will tell about the fight between two volcanoes that lived on Mount Kilimanjaro.  This is the highest mountain in Africa.

Another story is about the great fight of two volcanoes on Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa.  Are you ready to travel with the rangers and see African animals: elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos and wilderbeest?

Getting Ready to Travel

First, let’s look at the map of Africa. We will be travelling in the country of Tanzania.  Our plane will land at the capital city of Dodoma.  Make sure that you have your passport, camera, suitcase and Tanzanian money.


We Have Arrived in Tanzania

Wow, it’s hot now in Dodoma.  There are about 47 million people living in Tanzania and about 4 million wild animals mostly on the Serengeti.  Let’s go to a cafe and order a cold drink.  Have you enough Tanzanian schillings?  You can order your cold drink in English or Swahili which are the two official languages.



Let’s take our cold drink and watch planes landing.  There are planes  arriving from the eight countries that surround Tanzania: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

Our Taxi is Waiting For Us.

We will take the taxi to the hotel to get a good sleep.  The next morning we will get into our invisible jeep and follow the rangers.

As we walk out to the taxi, we will pass by the Tanzanian flag and a big poster of the President.


This is President John Pombe Joseph Maguli and beside him is the flag of Tanzania.   There are about 47 million people living in Tanzania.

You walk towards the taxi stand.  A tall slender man shakes your hand and welcomes you to his country.  His name is Enzi.  He laughs and tells you that his name in the Swahili language means “the powerful one.”


Enzi likes to talk and he tells you he is proud of his country.

“ We have the highest mountain of all the African countries.  It is called Mount Kilimanjaro.”

He beeps his horn and waves to a friend.

“Do you know that Tanzania might be the oldest country in the world?”

You ask him to explain.

“Well, scientists say that they foundest the oldest human skull here, so perhaps, the first humans may have lived in Tanzania.”

You are impressed and say, “Wow!”

Enzi laughs, “ We have the largest extinct volcano called Ngorongoro and

the  largest lake called Lake Victoria.  He passes you a map and a picture of Lake Victoria.  On the map you can see the Serengeti Plains and you wonder where the rangers are at the moment.



You look at the window and notice that some people appear to be wearing tribal clothes.  You ask Enzi how many tribes there are in Tanzania and he replies, ‘about one hundred and twenty.’

Enzi turns the taxi into the driveway of a large hotel and you notice that the reception area is filled with African carvings and beautiful wall hangings.  Enzi waves goodbye.  It has been a long flight and you are anxious to have a shower and go to bed.  You pull back the bedspread with its beautiful cover of African wildlife and fall asleep.


It is very early the next morning, when we approach our invisible jeep. It drives itself and the signs point towards the Serengeti National Park.  The sky has not yet turned blue.  Inside the park, the first animal that you see is a majestic female lion.  She blends in with the orange sun and sky.

We arrive at the rangers’ camp.  We park our invisible jeep just feet away from their fire.  We smell the porridge breakfast cooking and Jabari, the head ranger, removes a hot pot of water from the fire.  He makes three mugs of tea.  We watch as his two ranger friends, James and Ahmed wake up.  If we just sit and watch, we will get to know some things about the rangers.

Christmas Traditions Around the World – Socks, Bananas, Graves?


 15806515_s Czech Republic & Slovakia

Fed up with being single?  Try this custom of standing with your back to the door and tossing your shoe over your shoulders on Christmas Day.  Your shoe must land with the toe pointing to the door, that’s a lucky sign that you will be married.  However, there is no tradition to say that you will be married in the coming year.  Good luck, if this is what you want.  Remember fourteen countries have legalized same sex marriage -2013 and MORE to come!  paula.

 Philippines: Clean Socks and Polished Shoes

Children have a special tradition.  They leave their brightly polished shoes and freshly washed sock on the window sill.  They are hoping that the Three Kings or Three Wise Men will come on January 8th and leave them gifts.






India: Where People Can Go Bananas!

Unknown-8Unknown-7India has a population of over a billion people.  Christians are roughly 2.5% of the population, but that equals or amounts to 25 million people.

The people of Indian love to celebrate, and so the Western Influence has become part of their culture. India is a Hindu country with Muslims and Christians.

India goes not grow fir or pine green Christmas trees, so banana trees and mango trees are decorated instead.  Streets have lit and well decorated banana or mango trees and families do the same often decorating their homes with banana leaves.

Christmas in Finland- Grave Visits

On Christmas Eve, Finnish families to cemeteries.  They visit the graves of family members who have died.  If a family lives somewhere where their dead family members are not near, they will visit any cemetery and light a candle

cemetery1On Christmas Eve, it is a tradition for Finnish families to light candles at the grave of their deceased ancestors and friends. Even those who don’t have their kin’s graves nearby visit cemeteries to place candles in honor of their family members buried elsewhere. Finns expect a visit from the deceased. Food will also be left on tables and family members leave their beds to sleep on the floor to give the dead a nice meal and a place to rest.

Christmas Day in Finlandsanta_claus_sleigh_ride_lapland_finland-628x600

Christmas  religious services are held early in the morning of Christmas Day. When you enter the Church it is illuminated with beautiful white candles.  Most people will walk or drive to church, but in the old days, and in certain parts of Finland, the traditional way is by horse-drawn sleighs.  In some parts of Finland (Lapland) reindeer pull the sleighs.



White Cockatoos: Poem by Banjo Paterson – Australia

Let’s begin by stating that one of Australia’s favourite poets was just nicknamed “Banjo.”

Image result for banjo paterson for kids
His real name was  Andrew Barton Paterson. He called himself Banjo because it was the name of his favourite horse. He was born back in 1864 near Orange in New South Wales.

White Cockatoos – Poem by Banjo Paterson

Now the autumn maize is growing,
Now the corn-cob fills,
Where the Little River flowing
Winds among the hills.

Over mountain peaks outlying
Clear against the blue
Comes a scout in silence flying,
One white cockatoo.

Back he goes to where the meeting
Waits among the trees.
Says, “The corn is fit for eating;
Hurry, if you please.”


Skirmishers, their line extendiing,
Shout the joyful news;
Down they drop like snow descending,
Clouds of cockatoos.

At their husking competition
Hear them screech and yell.
On a gum tree’s high position
Sits a sentinel.                     (sentinel is look out)

Soon the boss goes boundary riding;
But the wise old bird,
Mute among the branches hiding,
Never says a word.

Then you hear the strident squalling:     (strident means getting louder)
“Here’s the boss’s son,
Through the garden bushes crawling,
Crawling with a gun.

May the shiny cactus bristles
Fill his soul with woe;
May his knees get full of thistles.
Brothers, let us go.”