My husband and I are campers and explorers. We love travelling through our own and neighbouring countries and prefer to take the roads less travelled when doing so. There’s an unspoken understanding between inhabitants of this beautiful continent, regardless of skin colour or language. Wherever you find yourself, everyone can relate to the beauty of African sunsets, the magic of a fish eagle’s call and the expectant smell of rain in the air.
We are a continent with our feet placed solidly on the dusty earth, often reverting back to basic needs and ways of doing things. Seeds get planted by hand, fruit are hand-picked from trees and fish get caught for daily meals. Kids walk to school and play barefoot in the dust, not worrying about the dirt or extramural activities.
I am always amazed at the simplicity by which some people live and often wonder who’s got it right: the ones slaving themselves from 8-5 (if you’re lucky) to ensure a 3 week holiday in a busy coastal town during December, or the ones who wake in the morning when sunrays enter their room, eats only once their body needs food and fetch drinking water daily according to their family’s needs.
Might it be true that LESS is MORE???
When thinking of the way kids in Africa’s rural villages play, I have to say yes.
These children can keep themselves occupied for hours with sticks, stones, trees and leaves. Years ago, before technology, we all used to play like this – making mud pies, shooting targets with sling shots, building tree houses and swimming in (then not polluted) rivers. No one gave us instructions. We simply observed older siblings and figured it out along the way. By learning through observation and trial-and-error, we developed logical thinking, problem solving, creative thought processes and planning skills. We used our hands, bodies and senses to develop higher brain thought processes: we received information from our environment through our senses, our brains filtered and processed the information and our bodies reacted accordingly.
When a child plays in a river and attempts to cross the river, he will
FEEL how solid the riverbed is,
LOOK at the strength of the current,
LISTEN for sounds of nearby animals,
and then he’ll cross the river if it is safe to do so,
because the feedback his body received after assessing all the sensory input assured him that the logical option would be to assume that it is safe to cross the river.
Our brains and bodies know how to teach us valuable lessons.
We should stop interfering and allow our kids to learn through experience and exploration.
Get back to basics like Africans do!!!