Mpop Kidz Club headed across the road recently to a different world – Thurlow Reserve on the banks of Midmar Dam. Tutu Zuma, Kidz Club facilitator said “They were so excited to have a trip outside of Mpophomeni and especially to see zebras and different buck. It was not hard to organise, and transport was cheap. Everyone should learn about the wonderful local things instead of going to Durban and other places.”
While fun was high on the agenda, facilitator Ayanda Lipheyana was not going to miss the chance for a few lessons. He divided the 38 youngsters into three groups – Soil, Air and Water. Each group had to do some research on each abiotic component that is the basis for all life. Why do they think that these things are important for humans and what affect do humans have on each component?
Each group did a MiniSASS and water clarity test using the turbidity tube on the banks of the dam. There were not many invertebrates because water levels are low and there are no stones or vegetation on the edges of the dam. The MiniSASS Average score was 5.5. The water clarity score ranged between 45-53.
During the feedback, many different points were raised and it became clear that humans are completely dependent on Soil, Air and Water. Zama said water is the source of life because we cook using water and we drink water – “amanzi ayimpilo ngoba siyapheka ngawe futhi siyawaphuza”. Palesa said water is the habitat for the aquatic animals. Noxolo said we need air to breath and plants need air to grow. Samke said on behalf of the soil “People make bricks out of me and they build houses using me.” Zama added “Without soil there will be no food.” Ndalo, also talking about soil, said “Soil very important because people use it as sunscreen when it is hot.”
Ayanda asked some interesting questions like: How long can a person live without breathing? Thando guessed four hours. Ayanda asked all the kids to close their mouths and noses for one minute – no one managed even 30 seconds! Humans can survive a maximum of four minutes without breathing, live a maximum of four days without water and live for two months without having food.
Ayanda built a pyramid to illustrate this. The bottom row has soil, air and water, with plants and animals balanced on top of them and then the top level for humans. The hierarchy shows that humans depend on everything in the bottom and middle tiers. Everyone understood the importance of conserving what we have because when one of the bottom tier was removed, humans fell down along with the animals and plants.
Everyone enjoyed having lots of space to play soccer, throw balls and skip with the skipping rope they had made using discarded bread bags.
Tutu showed everyone how to make Christmas cards using old magazines and everyone made one to take home for their family and friends.
Sitting on the banks of the dam enjoying a picnic, the children were astonished to see that the dam had waves. “They felt as if they were at the sea!” laughed Tutu. It was a long, productive and very happy day. Ayanda concluded “These kids were so energetic and amazing, they made my day. I love these kids.”
Thank you N3TC for funding all the Mpop Kidz Club activities this year and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for waiving the entrance fee to Thurlow for this excursion.