the lion sleeps tonight
In the interests of full disclosure, I should admit that I spent six weeks in South Africa last December,
and my husband was (usually) very patient while I searched market stalls for the "perfect" spoons, bowls and animals.
Before the lion (or the zebra, or the hippo, or the … can sleep, he needs a jungle - well, actually, a savannah (or a wetlands for the hippo).
I wanted a natural looking savannah for my lion, so I headed to the bulk beans and lentils rack in a local market. I added some thrift shop natural bead necklaces and some small sparkly-shiny beads discovered in a bag at the back of a cupboard.
The savannah was in need of scooping and pouring apparatus. Bowls and spoons.
* There is no elephant or rhino tusk in anything that I purchased while in South Africa.
During our two weeks living in a wild life national park monitoring wild dogs,
we learned about poaching and the heroic efforts of those passionate about saving animals from poachers.
The savannah needs its lion.
The lion needs some companions.
I think that we should agree that the lion is vegetarian.
Guess what came in book orders as I was preparing the bin to take to school. Timing could not have been better. African Animal Alphabet has absolutely beautiful photography (the kind that you would expect from National Geographic), and a bit of information about each animal. It's the kind of book you see groups of children gathered poring over.
The bin needs children.
Children who make up stories - together and by themselves, who ask questions, who scoop, pour, bury, who have to take turns and make sure that it is fair for everyone who is playing, who let the lentils run through their fingers, who bring the bin to life.
I hope that my kids ask questions.
I hope that they wonder what life is like outside the world that they know.
I hope that they wonder what life is like for boys and girls in various parts of Africa.
I hope that they ask about animals that are endangered and are still being killed.
We can talk. We can learn. And then we can ask more questions.
And I hope that some of the questions we ask will live inside these kids and that one day they search for answers for themselves.