By Tomomi Nishimura

The harvest moon in Japan was on Tuesday, 21st September 2021.

It was a sunny day and so the full moon looked very beautiful.

A long time ago, farmers used to measure the passage of time by the phases of the moon.

This helped farmers to carry out jobs on the farm at the appropriate times.

Autumn is the harvest season for crops and it’s the season when the moon looks the most beautiful.

The shape of dumpling symbolizes the round shape of the full moon and shows gratitude for a good harvest and we believed that eating the dumpling after offering will give our health and happiness.

We held the children’s cafeteria on Tuesday afternoon from 5pm to 7pm.

The project is for children who usually eat supper alone. This service is not only for poor families but also to help working mothers. We want to make it a place for everyone.

I get a lot of fresh vegetables donated by farmers in my neighbourhood.

We made harvest meal boxes called “Tsukimi Bento” which included rice balls in the shape of a round moon as well as side dishes.

The use of one-way streets and disinfection helped people to feel more confident when buying Bento boxes because there was less chance of spreading Covid.

Boxes were free for children and adults paid ¥300 ( = £2 ) per box.

Adults bought 20 boxes and children received 20 boxes.

Everybody took their boxes home.

The next day, one of the mothers told me that her toddler son pointed to each side dish and said “Moon! Moon!” and ate it all up. Everybody enjoyed eating handmade Bento.

I was very happy to receive her report.

I enjoyed looking at the full moon and eating the Tsukimi bento too!

The Children’s cafeteria is going to be held once a month from now on.

Today we celebrate Teachers’ Day and send a huge thank you to our very own Ruth Durant!

Scroll down to see the messages which our learners have shared to thank Ruth for all her encouragement, care and support as a teacher and a friend.

Dear Ruth, 

Learning from you has enriched my life! Thank you for your teaching. 

Best regards to you! 

Tomomi 

It has been an utmost honour to be able to attend your classes; you teach us in the friendliest way. There might be a day that I forget all you have said, but I will never forget what and how you made me feel – empowered and confident. 

Azize 

Thank you for being an amazing mentor. Happy Teachers Day 2021! 

Fisun 

Dear Ruth,  

Happy Teachers Day! 

Özge Can  

Dear Ruth, 

My gratitude to you on this Teacher’s Day is summarised in these words: _ God bless you_

You are a teacher who really loves their students.  

With love, 

Ana 

Dear Ruth, 

When my family and I moved to the UK 1 year ago, I thought I would have a hard time communicating in English and making new friends. Being aware of the EAL Friendship Group and attending your classes helped me a lot. 

You give us the opportunity to get to know this different culture that we are trying to be a part of.  So glad you came into our lives. I hope we have the chance to benefit from your deep experience for many more years. I sincerely congratulate you on Teacher’s Day. 

Berrin xxx 

Thank you, Ruth, for your constant encouragement and support. 

Chiara 

A few years ago, Richmond EAL Art Club sessions took place at Orleans House. Although we are not currently running art classes, we wanted to share some of the fantastic artwork which was produced including this piece by EAL learner Ana Segnini. Prior to moving to England, Ana worked in Venezuela as a scientist on pollution and climate change.

The following presentation was researched and prepared by EAL learner Fariba Mostame to share the importance of performing regular breast self-examinations which can help women to identify potential risks of cancer. Fariba worked as a qualified midwife in Iran.

Disclaimer: Please note this guide is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, image interpretation or treatment. Always seek the advice of a medical professional with any questions you may have about a condition.

Words by Georgina Choueiri

It was a family reunion after a long time….

My oldest sister from the USA, me from the UK and the rest of the family who live in Lebanon.

The decision was made to visit the most unique and beautiful place in the North of Lebanon – the Cedars of God – or the Arz al Rab in Arabic – which are 2,000 or 3,000 years old.

Driving from home, the journey across steep hills and narrow roads took about three hours.

The weather was cloudy and cool and the temperature around 15 degrees Centigrade.

There was no entrance fee but voluntary donations were encouraged. We had a great walk inside the charming old forest for about an hour, right into the centre where there is a tiny old church with a traditional design.

How wonderful it was to walk along the path through these ancient trees which released their scent into the forest air. Our joy was over the moon – everybody was amazed and happy! It was such a beautiful place with the giant trees, the valley, the mountains and the views of the hills. As they say – truly Heaven on Earth.

Everyone should visit this magical place……..

Afterwards we went to the nearby village of Bsharri which is the birthplace of the well known writer and poet Gibran Khalil Gibran. We bought souvenirs and shared a festive lunch at one of its famous restaurants.

The whole experience was unique and memorable and a wonderful discovery!

For a summary presentation of the wonders of the Cedars of Lebanon also created by Georgina, click the link below:

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is #connectingwithnature which reminds us how simple activities like gardening and getting outside for a walk can really help our mental health and wellbeing.

We share a presentation delivered by our charity’s Chair, Annie Peters, which includes lots of helpful resources and tips on how to protect our mental health and prioritise our wellbeing.

Click to view the presentation here: Health and Wellbeing.pptx

EAL student Ana Maria Segnini looks back on the early weeks of lockdown in 2020 and the time she spent in Wonersh, Surrey. Ana was inspired by her daily walks in nature and decided to begin a crafting project to pass the time.

Click the link below to view Ana’s presentation which documents how her beautiful model of planet Earth, pictured above, was made using found natural items.