Our partnership between the Susana Bilingual Primary School in Cameroon and Trillium Charter School in Portland, Oregon has been instructive and fun for everyone involved. The kids have exchanged one set of letters so far, and enjoyed sharing holiday greetings.
We are always eager to set up pen pal relationships between schools in the Cameroon’s Northwest Region and anywhere else in the world, because we believe it is a great way to foster intercultural understanding and make learning more engaging. We are particularly interested in partnering the secondary schools involved in our garden project this year with classrooms that would like to follow their progress and share information about sustainable agricultural techniques.
As part of the Trillium Charter School partnership, I gave short PowerPoint presentation to teach them a little about Cameroon and their sister school, but wanted to do something more to punch it up a bit. I had read about moringa oleifera and been able to order some free seeds for our gardens from the EchoCommunity.net; moringa turns out to be near-perfect nutrition, packed with protein, nutrients, and anti-oxidents. Great for the kids to learn about and plant for their project in Cameroon, and great too, I figured, for the kids to learn about at Trillium. So I ordered some moringa powder and mixed it in with some fruit chunks and juice for a power smoothie that I brought along with me for the kids to taste.
When I showed a slide about moringa’s nutritional benefits, one student keyed in on it having twice as much protein as yogurt and said, “so I could eat nothing but moringa and be healthy?” Yes indeed, I explained, though we can’t get the fresh leaves here and the powder isn’t palatable unless mixed with something else. When it came to the actual tasting, some of the kids were reluctant to try it, since even a little powder had turned the smoothie a muddy green. But one by one they took a sip, and one after the other exclaimed “This is really good!” Of course it was mostly the fruit they were tasting, but they were thrilled to be able to drink something that was so good for them that also tasted so good. One of the kids insisted I write down the recipe for his mom to make for him.
So we are thinking it might be especially worthwhile to include a special focus on moringa for these school partnerships. The kids in the school in Cameroon would plant a moringa test garden and report on its progress and how they are using it. The kids in their sister school could research other uses and send information, recipes, or marketing suggestions, since in addition to being a great superfood, moringa can be used to purify water, feed animals, and enrich compost for fertilizing the gardens.
The international sister schools might want to purchase moringa powder to conduct experiments with, or sponsor the test garden by purchasing a packet of seeds for their sister school ($20).
If you are a school administrator or teacher who would like to partner with a school in Cameroon, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to sponsor a moringa test garden for one or or more schools in Cameroon, please make a donation here.