Thursday, December 20, 2012

African Trans-Saharan Trade Journals

Off to the Sahara Desert we go!  Students once again pretended to be African traders traveling across the treacherous Sahara Desert writing journals using their newly learned written language--Arabic!  In this project, students wrote at least three journal entries (beginning, middle, and end of their journey), translated their journals into Arabic, created a visual map of their journey illustrating events, recorded at least one journal entry as an audio file, and uploaded all of the pieces as well as pictures with captions to Edmodo (our online classroom).  Enjoy some of their finished products below!

Entry 1
I am leaving Awlil today to cross the Sahara Desert. I am going with my friend to Cairo to meet relatives and learn new customs. My best friends name is Thimba, it means lion hunter. My name is Nuru it means light. I was named that because my parents think that I was a leader from the start. We are now packing lots of water, food, salt, and gold. We hope to trade items along the way so we can survive on different needs. It is just my friend and I going on this trip. We are experienced travelers and know how to survive.

Entry 2
We are just off; our route is to go along the outside of the Sahara Desert. I brought a few weapons in case we run into robbers. We have traveled about 70 miles when we stop under a big shrub to set up camp. We gather rocks to make a fire pit when I lift up this rock and there was a fat tailed scorpion, with its stinger raised ready to strike, I pulled out my knife and cut its head off. Then the stinger, then I found more and did the same thing. After that, we had a nice stew, and went to sleep. I woke up around two o’clock in the morning, and the sun was just rising. I woke up my friend and we packed everything. We traveled about fifty miles when I noticed that Thimba wasn’t with me! Then my camel started going crazy! He was bucking around and shaking his leg. I calmed it down and looked at its leg. Right there, was a camel spider about the size of my palm, biting away.

Entry 3
Sorry, I stopped at a suspending moment. The camel spider saw me and jumped at my face. My instant reflexes kicked in and all you could see was two halves of a camel spider. I didn’t feel like eating it, because after I saw those fangs, I was freaked out! I found a fruit the size of a watermelon. I can’t remember the name, but I know very well that it heals bites. I cut up a piece and put it on the camel’s leg. The camel felt much better, and soon we were ready to go on.

Entry 4
Then I saw smoke and I knew that it was a fire. I traveled another fifty miles before we had to take shelter from a sand storm. It was very harsh and we had to stay behind a shrub. The camels were in front of us because they could shelter us too. They don’t mind the sand storm because they can keep their eyes open the whole time. They can do that because they have a clear eyelid that keeps sand out.  After a few hours it stopped. The sand was cooler now so I could walk easier. The problem is that all the other animals think so too.
Entry 5
I started walking but then I noticed that my camel fell! I saw what it was. There were bites all over it! I think that some bugs were hungry. Then I cut it open and a bunch of slimy gooey maggots fell out! I was so grossed out that I vomited several times. I stopped and realized that every time I vomited, I was losing more water, so now I was dehydrated and grossed out! I started seeing the smoke again and loaded up my gear and headed out. I traveled another twenty miles until I stopped under a shrub and took some cover for the night.

Entry 6
I woke up and packed everything. Then I saw it, a pit viper, three feet long. I grabbed it behind the head so it couldn’t bite me, and then buried it in the sand so it will have to dig its way out. After that, I started heading for the smoke again. I was much closer now so it took me about two hours before I reached it. Then I saw everything. The camp was deserted; the smoke was from a dowsed fire. I then saw some footsteps. They headed north. I knew that because it was nine o’clock in the morning and the sun is rising from the west. I started chasing after the footprints.

Entry 7
It took me another six hours to catch up with my friend. He was lying on the ground, dehydrated and robbed. I saw his water bottle by his side empty. I saw the city Tunis up ahead. The robbers might have been form there so we have to be careful. I laid a wet cloth along Thimba’s head and had him drink in small sips. If he drinks in huge gulps, he will vomit and lose lots of water. Anyways he woke up later and I showed him the city. We walk up to the main gates. We say that we are crossing the Sahara Desert and were separated, robbed, and dehydrated. They let us in and I soon found us an Arab merchant. He was selling zalabia. A wafer thin waffle like confection sprinkled with sugar.

Entry 8
I bought one. I have never tasted something so good in my life! It was amazing. I remembered that I also have to get new supplies for the rest of our trip. We found another merchant that was selling camels. I was suspicious in case they weren’t healthy. We bought the Healthiest one. I traded my yams for salt, and I bought more water. We found a place to stay for the night and we slept in an actual bed and new clothes were laid out for us. I was surprised and happy!

Entry 9
We stayed in the city for a night and soon we were ready to embark on our journey once again. We left after I bought some more zalabia. I am really addicted to that stuff. I really like it. Thimba and I were eating it along the way when around seven hours of hiking we ran into bandits they tried to ransack us but I tossed a weapon to Thimba and we fought against them. We managed to hold them off when a Desert Patrol came to help us. It turns out that the bandits were from Awlil too, and overheard us that we were going into the desert. They were soon arrested and we continued on our journey.

Entry 10
We traveled around another 50 miles when we settled under a small oasis. We started making camp. I made scorpion stew again and we had a nice feast. We went to sleep. I then woke up to the sound of Hissing. It was around three o’clock and I saw an Egyptian Rock Cobra on Thimba’s chest! I slowly crept around it and like I did with the pit viper, I grabbed it behind the head and threw it over a sand dune. That was a really close call; I woke up Thimba to tell him what happened when he screamed! I turned around and saw what happened. The warm campfire attracted so many animals that all we had was two bottles of water, and our camel. It surprised me that it didn’t die. We packed up everything that wasn’t contaminated and we broke camp.

Entry 11
We were walking for quite a while when I saw a mirage. I thought that it was a pool of water that was nice and cool. I wanted to run and jump in it. I wanted to swim around. I was so moved that I wanted to go in there that I ran and tried to jump in. Only it wasn’t water. It was QUICKSAND! I jumped in and then I became unconscious. The last thing that I remember is a hand reaching out to grab me. I then fell into the darkness of the quicksand.

Entry 12
I suddenly woke up. I was all sticky and was lying down. I was under a shrub. I felt hydrated, and healthy. Then I made my mistake. I moved my left arm and it hurt really badly. It was dislocated. I could see the socket bulging out of my skin. I finally had the courage to pop it back in place. I then striped off my shirt and made a sling out of it. I then saw my friend. He was sleeping on his blanket. I went over to him and woke him up. He said that he never had the courage to save me before. He said that he was always scared of the hazards. I said that I already helped him. He said how? I said you pulled me out of the quicksand. He said that he couldn’t thank me enough.

Entry 13
We started hiking again and after sixty or so miles, we saw pyramids. We got excited but we didn’t run we wanted to save our energy so we can get there on time. We camped out for the night and we all had a good night’s sleep. We didn’t light a fire tonight, because lesson learned. We woke up around five o’clock and started heading towards the Pyramids. Several hours later we have reached Cairo. We embraced our relatives and told them about our journey. They gasped and cried, and laughed. We had fun together and I bought everyone zalabia and we had fun. The crossing of the desert was fun, but next time, I will take the boat.

Here's another written in a narrative format.  This student worked with a partner and each student wrote their own journal in their own point of view, but the same narratives...they were sisters.

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