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Lesson #1 on Africa

Lesson #1: African Culture

1.  African Poster Project
: and
Background: Africa is a land rich in history, culture, landscape, animals and religion.  It is the home of humanity and it is the center of much of the worlds turmoil today.  Africa is a land of contradictions and mystery.  It is a place of enormous wealth and widespread poverty.  It is a land of unbelievable beauty and unspeakable horror.  Africa is home to thousands of different cultures.  Tribal villagers live in the jungle and plains as they have for hundreds of thousands of years while some of the most modern cities are built even now. 
: Use the interactive map on the link from Wikipedias Africa article to find your two countries.  Remember to focus on four aspects of culture from your nation, three aspects of people and three aspects of history.  If you need to print a picture, please ask first.  Otherwise, write down the information from your research that will aid you in creating two posters on Africa. 

2.  African Travel Blogs
: The internet has revolutionized the world in ways that we are just beginning to notice.  Take for instance this website concerning travel blogs from around the world.  In the past, people were limited to slide project shows or long hours around a photo album to hear stories from world travelers.  Now, anyone can visit this site to learn about the journeys of ordinary people around the world and, in this case, Africa
: Imagine yourself a foreign desk reporter (or a photojournalist) for a major United States newspaper or magazine.  Your supervisor has sent you on a project to travel to five countries in Africa.  Before you go, however, you want to learn as much as you can from the people who have been there before you.  Using the site above, retell five stories (by reading their accounts and describing their pictures) of travels to your choice of five African countries.  Each story should be a paragraph (at least five sentences) long.   

3.  African PBS
: Learning about Africa itself could take a lifetime.  Some people do just that: study Africa.  Many are cultural anthropologists (people who study culture for a living).  Journeys into Africa tell them much about the world that we came from as well as it does about the one we are living in now.  Africa presents a collection of societies as old as humanity, brimming with potential and depth.  Whether it is music, art, dance, religion or literature, the people of Africa have much to share with the world. 
: Imagine yourself as a cultural anthropologist.  You have just graduated with your masters degree from a prestigious university and have been hired by a Chicago Museum of Culture to spend two years in Africa, studying the culture of the people there.  Using the Explore the Regions and Photoscope sections of the website, collect five case studies of African people and culture.  Each case study should be a paragraph long and explain what you learned (or saw, by including pictures) about the people of Africa and their culture.   

4.  Ghosts of
: The horrors of the Rwandan genocide need to be explained to the world in order for justice and forgiveness to be felt by all of those affected.  Almost one million people were murdered in the span of a few months.  Much of the world watched, but chose not to act.  Activists like Dr. King, Mohandas Gandhi and Mother Teresa or survivors of the Jewish Holocaust in World War II would most likely speak out or act directly to stop such killings.  Can we do less, today?  Even as you read this, many thousands are dying in the Dafur region of the Sudan, by rebel armies and civil war, just as in Rwanda.  What can we do?  Look at Rwanda and learn from our recent history.  Only then can we not repeat it.
: Imagine yourself as the editor and main journalist of a college newspaper in the summer of 1994.  You heard a news report while driving to school one day of massacres in Rwanda.  Because you cant sit and do nothing, you decide to write a story about the events and organize a campaign to 1) increase awareness of the killings and 2) put political pressure on American and international politicians to intervene.  Using the Timeline and the Analysis (under the Lessons of Rwanda and Can it happen again?) sections of the website, write two articles for your paper.  The first explains what happened (timeline) in detail and the second focuses on the lessons of Rwanda (what are they) and whether this could happen again (what should we do).  Each story should be a few paragraphs at least.    

-- Edited by mre at 18:38, 2007-06-01






Article #1:
             On April 7th Hutu gunmen systematically killed Hutu and Tutsi politicians and leaders. The United States eventually evacuates all it's citizens out of the country. The U.N. peacekeeping force is told not to intervene. During April 9 till April 11 tens of thousands of Tutsi's are targeted my the Hutu government. The bodies start to pile up 6 feet high. Almost all foreigners are evacuated by now. By April 15, All belgium troops are withdrawn from the peacekeeping force. The belguim government asks the U.S. to also withdraw it's troops. By now about 32,000 people have died from the genocide. By the ninth day of fighting , 72,000 people have died and the U.N. force is down to 2,100 from 2,500.
             By April 21st the Security Council unanimously votes to withdraw 90% of the U.N. forces from Rwanda . The killing escalate to 100,000 deaths. By April 25, the Peacekeeping force is ill equiped,  and down to 450 trying to protect 25,000 civilians. On May 3rd the U.S. reviels a new peacekeeping doctrine. It limits U.S. participation in all U.N. missions. By now the death toll is about 200,000. On May 5th the pentagon refuses to help block radio waves of bias radio stations who help ignite hatred toward the other party. the death toll is 216,000. 
             Finally on May 17 the U.N. and U.S. decide to send a force of 5,000 troops to Rwanda and 50 armored personel carriers. The death toll is 296,000. On May 25th President Bill Clinton makes it clear that ending the genocide in Rwanda is in U.S. interests. the death toll by now reaches about 328,000. In June the U.N. peacekeeping force has not been deployed so France sets up a safe zone under the control of the Hutu government. Tutsi's are still killed inside the safe zone. By July 17 , Tutsi RPF forces have captured Kigali and the Hutu government is destroyed and flees to Zaire (mondern day Congo). The genocide is officially over thought hundreds of thousands die after it is over. The genocide had lasted for 100 days and took the lives of 800,000 Rwandans.

Article #2:
There are many lessons learned from the genocide that occured in Rwanda. One lesson the world has learned was that speaking out against something is what must be done by all of us. Staying silent will never benefit anyone when it comes to mass murder. The international community should have spoken out against the killings and intervened before things got out of hand. This they didnt do, and let around 800,000 people die because of silence. In Rwanda's case silence was the real killer. We have learned that speaking out can give hope, and courage to whomever is being oppressed, hunted ...etc.
            Another lesson learned by specifically the presidents that diplomacy needs to start being backed up by force when a genocide occurs. They can not ignore it and hope it will end. They need to take action to end the human rights violations and genocides around the world (including Sudan who president bush hasnt really done that much if anything to help stop the fighting) Politicians also learned to try and provide immediate help to any country or area who's population is being massacred. Yet another lesson learned from the genocide is that when people don't care enough or at all, those being massacred will die. During the genocide not enough people cared about the amount of deaths and the outcome of the killings. I believe the world has learned that when something like this occurs everyone has to care in order to help them.
            If a genocide like the one that occured in Rwanda were to happen again i think that the world would still be unprepared to deal with it. Once again country interests would stand infront of moral obligation. Humans would want the best for their countries not other humans dying thousands of miles away. Because they deaths are so far away it is much easier to forget about it. But those who are affected by the genocide will never forget how the international community wasnt prepared to protect or even help them. What should be done is different than was will be done. We SHOULD immediately send a peacekeeping force within days of the genocide and create safe zones under the control of a foreign country and not under the government or any other groups. Everyone on both sides should be allowed to live in the safe zone and all those who commit violent acts against humanity should be captured and tried. In the case of Sudan for example the internatiol community wasnt prepared and still isnt prepared and the killings went on for too long before the U.N. sent any kind of aid. The killings are still occuring right now as u read this article.  
            So in the end, after all the lessons learned both as humans and people, the world still isnt ready to handle any kind of genocide in an effective way. The start of another genocide would only put more pressure on the U.S. and the U.N. to do things that they wouldnt normally do because it conflicts with nation interests. Response time to another genocide would be just as slow as the reaction to the one in Rwanda. I believe that the probability of another genocide occuring for example in the next 20 years (other than that occuring in Sudan) is very possible because Africa is a very unstable continent and is also the poorest in the world. Also because the situation in Africa has become worse than 10 years ago with more civil wars than 10 years ago. The world has responded horribly to mass killings until it was too late. Another genocide would get more attention now-a-days but the world isnt ready for any more.

katie bentley


Article #2


This is an account by a girl who visited Moshi recently.
 It starts off with her saying she is writing from the top bunk of her hut hotel under a mosquito net. Her day starts off by going on a 5 km walk to find the head teacher at Shiramatunda Center for Disabled Children during this walk the girl and her partner come across some of the people that live in the area. The people are interested in the differencs of the tourists. The road they traveled on was made of dirt and very bumpy and uneven. Children were seen every where most in school uniforms. They were very interested in the girls camera and loved taking pictures. Many of the people there have never seen themselves before so they were very excited when the girl showed them their pictures. Many of the pictures taken are of children who have batted and worn clothes on but they have the biggest smiles. They have almost no toys except soccer balls made of trash.

-Addis Ababa, Ethiopia-

Addis is a very busy and pretty part of Africa. It has a tree root like structure unlike the grid like form of new york and the ring like form of washington d.c. there are no street rules or signes that say yeild ect. Most roads have a minimum of 3 street names. poor families intermingle with wealthy ones which creates a sort of peace between the people. addis is very crowded but beautiful


the people in madagascar are not at all friendly unless u are with plenty of people and have alot of money to spend. although it is a nice plac to vacation its enhabitanta are not very social.


Sudan is considered the india of africa, and is also the largest area in africa. many people live here and it is a great place to travel. people mostly walk but some do have motor vehicles.

(many of the people who osted these blogs did not have names but all were found on the site given for this activity.

Roger Hart

RE: Lesson #1 on Africa #3

I am a cultural anthropologist, I have a miserable life. My job is basically to go around and seeing how our culture is better off then theirs.
  1. The Sahara, the dry death.
    This is the worlds largest desert; it is about 3.3 million miles, thats a lot of sand. Well the since the area is in-between the Muslim influence in the northern countries and the continents black African south". It is a very dry place; the desert is so large it has some affect on the cycle of the seasons, the wet and the dry seasons. It has a very small population density, the people that live there are Tuareg, Arab, Tubu, and Moor can survive in the hostile climate The Tuaregs who wear blue robes, run salt caravans and herd sheep, goat, and camels. The Moors farm date palms, which is pretty weird since there is not a lot of water. A lot has changed over time, just like everything else, the Arabians have moved to large cities like 
    Cairo, Africas largest city which has about 10 million people. Camels are being replaced, with trucks in the salt trade. The Tuaregs are becoming guides for western adventure tourists and they are becoming enticed by the riches from promised oil and gas operations. Sadly in this region there is political turmoil, in the late 1990s Tuareg armed insurgencies ripped through the Sahara. But in a little wet place in a mass of dry is an oasis, Rissani, Morocco offers internet cafes, but it is really for the tourists. Thats what I learned from the article on the Sahara but from the pictures I learned that, well they most of them live in poverty but some the ones that live in Cairo have the good life in a metropolis.
  2. The savanna, hunt or be hunted.
    Africas Great Plains I can describe them in one word, great. If youre going on a vacation and you want clear blue skies and nice rolling hills covered in tall grass and the occasional wild and dangerous animal you should go. The spaghetti, such a wonderful food, I mean the Serengeti is a most glorious place if you want to see Africa in its glory days before people destroyed the land and made some of this animal refuge human land. It runs from Kenya to Tanzania Right now there are a couple of cultures on the plains, Maasai nomads to Kikuyu farm people and the hunter/gatherers the Dorobo. The Dorobo live in close family bonds within there community. They dont have a chief or a defiant leader they have town meetings to decide things. The Kikuyu are modernizing, but there community bonds are very strong, they love to sing and they have adopted Christianity as a new religion and lot of them are converting. The Maasai are not as civilized as the other two, they still believe in polygamy and pulling out teeth with a knife.
3)      Great lakes, oh glorious water!
The people who live here are subjected to war and death. Although it sounds nice its not, the people were ultimately go into wars because of the past due to there strong lineage. The Baganda have the strongest ties into the past, they have there kings line of ancestors all the way back to 1400.  They are either converting to Christianity or Islam. They believe that life revolves around the king or as they call him the Kabaka. From the pictures the king looks very rich. The Tusti are violent cattle herders who dont like farmers and took over the Hutu. The Hutu are farmers who couldnt defend themselves so they lost there land.
4)      The rainforest, what madness drove them into the dark?
The people who live here are hunters and gathers pretty simple.  The Baka think that hunting is very important. They also believe that there is no better profession then hunting. The women usually build houses and catch fish; they use the method of dam fishing. They build a dam; load it with pulp and then the fish come up and the women hit the fish with machetes. By the looks of them they look like a hardy folk, a strong people.  
5)      Ethiopian highlands, the cradle of human life.
Basically the two types of people that live hear are Amhara and the Gurage. The Amhara life revolves around religion, they are The Ethiopian Orthodox Church combines Judaism and Christianity. In this culture money is not the source of power and respect it is land. The Gurage on the other hand believe in manual labor as a social class and are proud of there heritage and boast that they have live in the highlands for 600 years. 
Now that I have visited africa im visiting my own adventure... my dreams.    yawn


RE: Lesson #1 on Africa

Question Two:

Guerillas and Gorillas Democratic Republic of the Congo Grace Choe


Although the cost of gorilla tracking is staggering $300- $500 for permits alone, Grace decided the experience would be worth the expense. Although Uganda is considered the safest and most popular place for gorilla tracking, it would have taken weeks to get a permit, and tracking in Rwanda would have much too expensive.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the cheapest alternative, mostly because it is very dangerous   several tourists have been robbed, kidnapped, or killed while tracking.  Being pressed for time and money, Grace chose The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and her excursion came to a grand total of about $400.  About crossing the border from Uganda to the DRC,  she said that the people smile less, and that you can tell the people have lived through bad times.  The experience made her feel guilty and privileged.  Grace found the gorillas, spent an amazing hour with them, and returned safely.  Although she did not encounter any real dangers, besides a very underhanded informant, Grace recognized how real they were, but says her experience with the animals was worth the risk.


Idyllic Islands, Rasta Love, and the Nile Uganda Kampala  Grace Choe


In Uganda, Grace spent time at Lake Bunyoni on a 7-day transit visa.  The campsite she stayed at was very environmentally friendly and donated all proceeds to neighboring islands for education and community development.  She describes this as one of her favorite places she has visited, largely because of the spectacular scenery and simple lifestyle.  After she left, she started experiencing the night life of Kampala with some fellow travelers and locals, some of whom turned out to be real creeps.  She later went rafting down the Nile, which turned out to be a lot of exercise and minor injury.


Africa and Aid Work Kenya Bungoma Grace Choe


In the next stop of Graces journey, Bungoma, Kenya, she got to witness firsthand how ineffective Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) can be.  She has seen US Aid goods and second-hand clothes being sold on the market, mosquito nets being used as fishing nets, to cover food, or sold to tourists as souvenirs.  She has also heard about people who cook and eat donated seeds, because they feel no need to cultivate a crop when the food continues to be donated to them.  She also spoke to a Canadian engineer, who described how her project, which the NGO had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in, was being cancelled, and how she was not going to tell her local crew until the latest possible moment, out of fear that they would begin looting and stealing.  However, Grace also got to witness the difference one person can make.  A new acquaintance of hers, Amanda, has single-handedly furnished a local school with basic necessities, like concrete walls, chalk boards, toilets, and energy, provided the school with a cow for milk, educated the kitchen staff on proper nutrition, and formed a womens group, all of which occurred under a corrupt boss and which she paid for with money she fundraised.  When they told the villagers that Amanda was leaving, the look in their eyes was described as devastation.


Pink and Purple, Colors of Justice Rwanda Kigali Grace Choe


When Grace visited Rwanda, the first thought that came to her mind was very naturally genocide.  Her first morning there, she visited a memorial center, which explained the 1994 events as well as other worldwide genocides.  One of the most shocking exhibits for her was about children who were killed.  It showed their picture, name, personality traits, and manner of death.  Later, she visited a church where Tutsis (the targeted group) had gathered, thinking it was a safe haven, and were massacred.  Some of her pictures from this church are disturbing, to put it mildly.  One shows a hundred or so skulls lined up on shelves.  Another depicts stacks of bones.  Grace describes a burial of several victims or the genocide that she saw, as well as a gacaca, a village court which tries genocide criminals.  She talked to a man who was part of the Rwandan Police Force, the group that ended the fighting, and asked if he had Hutu (the attacking group) friends.  He said yes, and she asked if that was hard, to which he replied, Yes, but what choice is there?  If we dont forgive, what else is there to do?  In commenting on her general impression of Rwanda, Grace said she was confused by the normalcy, and whether it meant true forgiveness or disguised tensions.


In Search of King Solomons Mines Sierra Leone Freetown Bobbie Nystrom


Bobbie spent time in the very Christian Freetown, a city lit by kerosene lamps and candles rather than electricity, during Holy Week.  On Good Friday, the children made a scarecrows out of used clothes and straw to resemble Judas.  After mass let out, they dragged these scarecrows down the streets, beating, kicking, and drowning them in sewers.  One child explained to Bobbie that this was to teach Judas that what he did to Jesus was wrong.  On the Monday after Easter, he went to a huge festival in the center of the city, in which rappers advised, Give a big up to Jesus.  When he later crossed into Guinea, he had to bribe the border patrol officer.  A fellow African traveler explained that it was not corruption, like Bobbie thought, but tradition.  Bobbie describes the country he was leaving behind as beautiful.



African Travel Blogs

Sierra Leone The climate is hot and humid. Sierra Leone boarders the Atlantic ocean, so there were many beaches along the coast. The roads are poorly maintained and you can see the children playing in the streets. There are churches where people com eto sing and pray. There is a sence of community in many cities of Sierra Leone

Western Sahara The climate is hot and dry however the night can be very cold out in the desert. There is a lot of sand. The country boarders the coast, so the coast has many beaches. In the cities there are marketplaces, where artisans come to sell their crafts.

Sudan The Suddan is the largest country in Africa. The climate is very hot. There are many different groups in the different regions of the country. Because of this, there has always been civil war and turmoil. The people living in Sudan are very primitive they hunt with bows and arrows and some walk around without any clothing.

Chad was a poorly developed French colony. There has been civil war and political turmoil. The climate in chad is very hot. The cities have marketplace filled with local residents. Islam is a popular religion in Chad.   

is a generally stable country. It has developed roads and rail ways. There is even developments in agriculture and industry. Limbe, a city in Cameroon is how to the limbe wildlife center. Waza, a city in northern Cameroon is home to Waza National Park



(Option 2)

White Hot Rage
Don Jamont had a relatively bad day. In fact, it was a relatively bad for even a Canadian UNMO (United Nations Military Observer) in Sudan, the site of some of Africas bloodiest, most horrific conflicts. He woke up early to lead a troop of soldiers in finding and removing unexploded ordinances, which is a military term for mortars, grenades, and the like that didnt blow up when they were supposed to in combat. However, the combat engineer who he planned the operation with claimed he was out of charges to detonate the unexploded ordinances (UXOs for short) safely and refused to move them to a safe location. Jamonts day was further broken when the engineer told him that there were two warehouses full of UXOs that needed detonating. Clearly, the engineer had wanted to move the bombs at one point, just not that particular time. Another officer gave him the standard spiel about the UXOs being somebody elses problem. Jamont lamented his loss of sleep for worrying about an important mission that could have saved innocent lives, but instead ended before it even started.

To The Heart of Africa
Lue Dillards visit to Rwanda was a sobering reminder of the genocide that happened there only thirteen years ago. She is an ambassador in the USs People to People program that sends people all over the world to visit places and provide an insight on whats happening there. Her first day was spent in the city of Kigali. The most stirring moment of it came when she visited Camp Kigali, a house where UN peacekeepers from Belgium were killed in an attack by militants in 1994. The side of the building is perforated with bullet holes, and a small bronze plaque inside lists the names of the fallen UN soldiers. She was brought to tears when she thought of her grandchildren, and that everyone who died in the genocide were others loved ones.

Exotic Destination
 Neneth was worried about her trip to South Africa. She considered packing tear gas and writing her last will and testament before she got onto her plane to attend a one-week workshop because she was afraid that it was still a very unstable, violent country. She had supper with some colleagues in a rather upscale restaurant that served various rare animals, including ostrich and giraffe. After the week was done, she decided to remain in the country for another day because she felt she just hadnt learned enough yet. She was still scared of being alone, but when she met her tour guide, she began to feel much more secure. The tour guide told her all about the ignorant Americans who visit and seem surprised that they wear clothes in South Africa and dont know who Nelson Mandela is. After going to a zoo, they visited a tribal village. Neneth noted the strangeness to her that was seeing people in traditional African clothes and riding horses while talking on cell phones. Her final opinion on the country was a great improvement over the previous one. She ended her entry by stating Sometimes the only way other people will hear of your country is from you. The more positive things you say, the better.

finally an update
On the brink of the cold season in Mauritania, a volunteer English teacher from the Peace Corps prepares for another year of students. Her name is Jolene. Since school for her ended in June, she has been looking around and spent a short while off to visit her parents. However, now shes back in Aoujeft, a small village roughly 200 miles away from the local capital, Atar. Shes excited that among the new batch of volunteers is one who is only 8 km away in a nearby village. With no one to visit after schools out, she wished for someone closer than Atar, and now she has just the person. This will be her second year. Joining the seven people returning are six brand-new people who have never volunteered in Africa before. She ends her post with a request for various foods that require only water and heat to make, as she cant get much milk or butter.

Tam Faller, an Australian touring the world, was touched even from the moment he left the plane at the airport in Uganda. After spending time in the materialistic, in his words, city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, he was somewhat relieved to be in a country that he dubbed the exact opposite of it. Entebbe International Airport was a small field with a tin shed, but the people around it were immediately greeted warmly by the locals. He found it a little strange for a few moments that people in poverty could be so happy, but then he thought about the simple things in life and realized how much they matter. When he went to church, he was overwhelmed by the choirs size and enthusiasm despite circumstances.

Jordan(Master of the Universe)


African Poster Project

South Africa Poster

Democratic Republic of the Congo poster


mr e


Mr. Master of the Universe SIR.

good work... jeesh.

Leah Machado


African Travel Blogs


The country of Cameroon belongerd to both France and Britan.  It merged in 1961 and that formed the present country that we all know.  Cameroon is one of the most developed counrties in Africa.  It is has a very stable community and has developed agriculture, roads, railways and a remarkable petroleum industry.  The counrty has tries many times to make a democratic reform, but the political power remains in the hands of the ethnic rule.


Gambia frist became indipendent from the UK in 1965.  It then developed a short-lived federation of Senegabia with Senegal in 1982 and 1989; in 91 the two counties formed a peace treaty.  Ironically enough a military party overthrew the president in 94 and banned political activity. in the early 2000's the country has now maintained a steady leader that has been elected over the years to current date.


The country of Guinea has only had the same two presidents since the gained their independence in 1958.  Conte became the first president in 1984 when the military was responsible for the death of the first president Toure.  Offical elections were not held until 1993 when Conte was elected president of civilian goverment.  He was reelected in 1998 and 2003.  To make things a little bumpy for the leader Seirra Leone and LIberia's problems have invaded Guinea threatening stability and creating huminatarian emergancies.

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