Photo © 2007 - Lekoumou District, Congo

Students around the world cultivate gardens – not only for their lunches, but also as laboratories for learning. In Lekoumou District, these hands-on activities are a welcome contrast to classroom lectures that can be crowded with more than 100 students. In their gardens, students see biology, geography, math, social studies, and other subjects come to life. Parents, too, are pleased that their children are learning practical skills that contribute to the family’s food security. Here, primary school girls patiently await their turn to plant vegetables that will nourish their bodies, minds, and souls. “The classroom is like a prison,” one student noted. “In the garden we are free.”
Mary Crave

CONGO

Congo/Republique du Congo
In central western Africa along Equator; bordering South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon; southwest coastal plain, the interior a central plateau between basins to south and north; 342,000 km2 (slightly < MT), 1.5% arable.

Capital Brazzaville (pop est. 0.6M)
Population 4.2M (100/km2)
Life expectancy 55 years
HIV/AIDS 3.4%
Literacy 84%
Lang(s) French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of these Kikongo is most widespread)
Religions Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%
Ethnic Groups Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M’Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%
Gov’t Republic
GDP/cap $4,200
PCVs 1991-97, agriculture, environment, health (Total volunteers to date: 139)
Nat’l holiday Independence Day, 15 August (1960)

 

Focus word for 2012 - "Freedom"

French: liberté (li-burr-tay)

 

Books

Blood River: The Terrifying Journey Through The World's Most Dangerous Country
by Tim Butcher
Book Description
A journalist undertakes a hazardous African trip in 2004, traveling from Lake Tanganyika to the Atlantic Ocean via the Congo River. Delivers an unblinking firsthand portrait of contemporary Congo.

 

Kids' Books

Monkey For Sale
by Sanna Stanley
Publisher: Frances Foster Books, c2002
Interest level: PreK - 3
Ages 2-9

 

Music

Bisso Na Bisso
Music from Congo

 

Films

White King, Red Rubber, Black Death, Peter Bate (2004)

 

Recipes

Saka-Saka/Cassava leaves
Liboké de poisson/Fish in banana-leaf