Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Seeds part of oldest game
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 Material Information
Title: Seeds part of oldest game
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: March 3, 1995
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00098
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
ee T Daily News. March 3. 19

Seeds part of oldest game

Environmental education can be
taught throughout the entire public
and private school curriculum. Yet
experience has shown vividly that
many teachers are somewhat at a
loss to know what and how to teach
subjects concerning the islands'
natural resources.
Lisa Bough, a teacher at Ricardo
Richards Elementary School, is
doing an excellent job of organizing
environmental education hikes
through the University of the Virgin
Islands Cooperative Extension Ser-
vice. Here on the St. Croix campus.
the Cooperative Extension Ser-
vice's environmental education pro-
gram is one of our most popular
outreach programs.
It teaches the public, but espe-
cially our children, about the
islands' ecology and the relation-
ship of micro-organisms, plants,
animals and human beings and the
natural environment.
About a week ago. I went hiking
with one of Ricardo Richards Ele-
mentary School's sixth-grade class-
es to the Jack and Isaac Bay dry-
forest ecosystem.

em ronment

As their tour guide. I explained
to them how the coral reefs, coastal
plants and other shrub plants in the
area function in this dry environ-
ment. As the kids listened attentive-
ly to what I had to say about the
environment, one kid came across a
plant that some kids knew as the
"burning beans" plant.
The children explained to me
how they played a game with the
seed of the plant by rubbing the
gray seed on a smooth, hard surface
and then placing the seed on one
.another's hand, causing a burning
sensation hence the name "burm-
ing beans."
The caesalpinia bonduc plant is
a running, climbing shrub with
fleshy yellow stems that grows
mostly along the coastal areas of St.

Croix but which also can be found
growing further inland. Every pan
of the plant, including the backs of
the leaves, is armed with spines.
The yellow flowers develop into
spiny seed pods which contain one
or two seeds.
As time passes, the brown pods,
which hold the seeds like a nest of
eggs. split open and the seeds even-
tually fall to the ground. Long ago.
local people made necklaces,
bracelets, earrings or placemats
from the seeds.
The seed also is known as "nick-
ers" or "nicker nuts" by our parents.
Old timers also mention that the nut
within the shell has been used for
medicinal purposes in the Virgin
Islands. In Africa, this plant grows
abundantly. But the caesalpinia
bonduc plant is more than a plant to
More than 6,000 years ago, a
game was developed in Africa from
the seeds. The game was called
Wahree, also spelled Wari, and it's
probably the oldest game in the
V See OLASEE, page 17

Games were used to increase parent-child communication

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