As a way of saying thank you to everyone who supported us throughout our Hare baleng! fundraiser, Khothatso got the children together and they came up with a fantastic variety of little videos. We hope you enjoy!
Every child here will know about pumpkins, they will have helped prepare the garden for pumpkins, planted them, harvested them, put them outside or on roofs, and certainly eaten them! There is even a riddle about them. Riddling in Sesotho goes like this:
“I will tell you a riddle.”
“What is it?”
If you can’t get the answer to your partner’s riddle, you have to ‘buy’ it (kea e reka).
This means that you have to give your partner a riddle, and if they cannot answer your riddle correctly, they have to tell you the answer to theirs.
If they can answer yours correctly, you give them another one until they can’t guess your riddle.
Then at last, you finally get the answer to their riddle.
The pumpkin riddle is:
Manini, o hlola terata, o ea kae? (Manini, you climb the fence, where are you going? (The riddle is, who is Manini? The answer is: a pumpkin)
When we start to write a story, the idea almost always comes from something we have seen happen in our Paleng library, or something a child said, or something that seems to hold our children's attention, or take their fancy, or sometimes something we simply feel like playing around with.
We often talk about the story in its rough form with a group of children to see what they think, and what the story might mean to them. With 'Sun, Moon, Rain and Wind' it was Khothatso's story idea and we asked the children about it. Our children live very close to the earth here, in more ways than one, and his story really resonated with them. (The story is about Sun, Moon, Rain and Wind having an argument about who does the most for the earth. They have a meeting to settle the question, and eventually come up with the interesting solution to share the day between them).
In our books, we always put a question and/or activity at the back to try to provoke in the child some thoughts about what s/he has just read, and encourage a real engagement with the book and its central idea. So this book asks children at the end: 'We need the earth so that we can live. She gives us food and shelter, animals and plants. In return, we can all do something to help our earth. What will you do to help the earth?' The child is invited to write or draw a response. We hope that this will get those little magical little grey cells hopping.
One of the stories that we have already made into a book and given out to other libraries, teachers and of course into our own library, was illustrated by the children. It is 'Sun, Moon, Rain and Wind', written by Khothatso. Here are some children deep in the throes of producing their drawings.
They were SO proud to see them in the book!
We are proud of the work we have done with the African Storybook Project (ASP) this year. We are an official pilot-site for this project, the only one in Lesotho.
We have submitted … stories to the site in both English and Lesotho Sesotho.
It is important to know that Lesotho Sesotho is different in some ways to South African Sesotho, the most obvious one being the way it is written. In Lesotho Sesotho for example, a ‘d’ is always written as ‘l’. The sound ‘w’ is written as ‘oa’, and ‘y’ as ‘ea’. An ‘l’ is sometimes pronounced as an ‘l’, and sometimes as a ‘d’.
This is important for young children learning to read in Sesotho.
These are the links to the books that have been published on the ASP website thus far:
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/13305, ‘Pale e qabolang’,
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/13306 ‘Funny Story’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/10671, ‘Mokopu oa ‘M’e Maneo’, http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/10674 ‘’M’e Maneo’s Pumpkin’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/13307 ‘Bolo eaka e khubelu’, http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/13308 ‘My Red Ball’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/11054 ‘Molisana Teiso’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/9621 ‘Khomo e Bokopa’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/9622 ‘Cow with One Horn’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/9790 ‘Senkokomaile sa Keke’ http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/9792 ‘Keke’s Swing’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/9399 ‘Lerato, Thabo le khomo’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/11044 ‘Phepetso ea Thabo’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/12027 ‘Likatse sa Selemeng’ http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/12155 ‘Selemeng’s Cats’
http://www.africanstorybook.org/asp/book/read/14816 ‘Peo ea Thoko ea FantaPine’
These books, as all books on the ASP website, are freely available for people to download, read, print, translate, and adapt or version. This means that our little books are travelling across Africa into schools and libraries. We are very happy to know that some of our books have been translated into other languages such as Isizulu, Lunyole, Setswana, Xitsonga, Isixhosa, Tshivenda, Kiswahili, Lugbarati, Ng’aturkana, Afan Oromo, Siswati, Afrikaans, Sepedi and even French!
We have illustrated some of these books ourselves, both Marion, Khothatso and the children of Paleng.
We have also taken stories from other parts of Africa and made our own versions of them in both English and Sesotho.
Please do go and have a look, It is a very interesting and important project, which we are very proud to be a part of.
In October, a professional puppeteer, Margaret Auerbach descended on Paleng with her stage, her little puppet friends, and boxes and boxes of things to make magic with!
She was here to run puppet-making workshops with our children.
The purpose of this visit was three-fold.
Margaret and her assistant Ruth Morgan were with us for three days of working with the children.
On the first day we held a small workshop with a little group of twelve older children who we know well. This was to test our process, as well as to recruit helpers for working with the bigger group on the second day.
On the second day around 45 children ranging in age from 4 to 15 years old descended on Paleng, eager to try their hand!
We divided them into groups, and scaffolded the activity so that even the smallest child could participate, and that the oldest children would be fully engaged.
There was a great deal of happy snipping, trimming, sticking, moulding, squeezing, deciding, testing out, changing minds, unsticking, trying again.
A wonderful display of creative chaos!
To begin both these days, Margaret did a performance of a show of her own in order to introduce the children to the whole idea of puppets and a puppet show, which they had never seen before.
She performed a story about a giraffe who was new to the forest, was teased by the other animals, and eventually learned to stand up for herself and be proud of who she is. This story resonates with poor children who are often marginalised by those more fortunate, and we also had our blind child in the audience, who followed the story by listening.
She also showed the children how to work with the puppet in order to bring it to life on stage.
Before going home, our children were asked to think of a story that they might like to perform with their puppets on the third day.
On the third day we made puppets with a very small group who were unable to attend on day two, rehearsed our stories for the performance, and after lunch we held our show. Fifty-five children attended on this day, and five small groups of children performed their own little shows with their puppets on our improvised ‘stage’ (rope and fabric strung across the room) to the delight of everybody there!
From their own performances, it was clear that our children understand the concept of using puppets to tell a story, and are able to do so themselves. We will certainly be taking this form of storytelling forward.
From the response of the children on all three days, and the enthusiasm with which they worked, we feel that this experience was a great success. Most children (including our blind and our cerebral palsied child) made both a sock puppet as well as a figure puppet out of newspaper, toilet rolls and a range of materials such as fabric, feathers, felt and wool.
The villages from which the children are drawn now have new inhabitants; little puppets who we are sure are busy at home performing for mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers.
Thank you Margaret and Ruth and all our creative little Paleng puppeteers!
Thank you also Rahula Trust for helping us to bring Margaret to Paleng.
We had an airoplane making session with Jon and Jaime, our missionary's wonderful children. We learned how to measure, to cut accurately, how to bend and stick and weight down the planes' noses with stones so that our planes did not go off to the moon! We made 15 planes, and most of them actually flew! Thank you guys, it was great fun!
One of the favourite activities every library afternoon is playing 'shop', and we play with great enthusiasm. Both boys and girls alike play with dolls and 'shop' toys at every chance they get, gender roles as far as toys are concerned are not a major consideration, they are simply catching up with play smile emoticon We often play outside, whatever the weather, because we have limited access to the secondary school hall. One day we will have our own centre, yes!
What we do