Tag Archives: couscous

What Kids Should Know About Libya

Libya has been in the news recently as the United States and other nations enforce a “no fly zone” to help protect Libyan citizens who do not agree with their current government.

Without going too deeply into the situation in Libya, which may be overwhelming for children, it is an opportunity to teach kids about Libya and its place in the world.

Libya – whose official name is Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – is located in North Africa. It is the fourth-largest country in Africa and the 17th largest in the world.

The country is mostly covered by the Libyan Desert, which is one of the driest, hottest places on earth.

Some parts of the desert have not had rain for more than 13 years. The highest temerpature that has been recorded in the desert is 136 degrees Fahrenheit!

The majority of people live in cities and are primarily concentrated close to the coastline with the Mediterranean Sea.

Islam is the major religion in Libya. While most people practice Sunni Islam, there are also Coptic Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics.

Arabic is the primary language spoken in Libya but there are many people from other countries living in Libya, including people from Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Egypt, and Italy. Italian and English is sometimes spoken in the larger cities.

Libya is a very young country – half of the people there are 15 years old or younger.

Fortunately, every child in Libya has access to a free education through secondary (high) school.

In fact, Libya has the highest literacy rate in Africa. More than 82 percent of the people can read and write.

Family is very important to Libyans and they are accustomed to living close to each other. There are more than 140 tribes or clans and people strongly associate with their tribe.

Libyan food is very similar to the rest of North Africa. Staples of a Libyan diet include: couscous, olives, soups, dates, grains, and milk. Following the meal, most people consume several glasses of black tea.

Libya is a beautiful, historic country facing many challenges but hopefully the Libyan people will soon be living in peace.

Libyan Desert

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

2 Comments

Filed under Learn

Play It Again, Sam

You must remember this, couscous is just couscous . . .

OK, those aren’t the words to the song, but that was the sentiment of the cooking class I took at my community college this week. It was a class on Moroccan food – and it was awesome!

As usual, I took a lot of pictures of the food and I had a great time meeting new people, tasting new cuisine, sharing ideas, recipes, insider foodie information (don’t tell the feds!). But what I really loved learning about is our interconnectedness. Food really is a tie that binds.

In between sauteing chicken or braising lamb or marinating shrimp, the chef talked about how food is our common denominator.

It’s the thing that was left behind when countries were invaded.

It’s the common language of troubled areas of the world who seemingly have nothing on which they can agree.

It’s a map of where and how people lived – and shared their knowledge – centuries ago.

Like a lot of people, I have a busy life, and it takes something really important to convince me to break up my son’s routine and take an evening away from him.

But when I can come home and tell him about how and why people in Spain and North Africa both love pastillas and why people in Morocco, Lebanon, and Israel all love couscous, I feel like I’m not just doing something for me. I’m also giving him just a little more knowledge or insight that will help him go where he needs to in life.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized