Mother’s Day in the Netherlands and America falls on May 14 this year. Here are some fun things to do. Fill them in and give them to your mother on Sunday.

Happy Faces shows outdoor movie

Every Saturday, the Happy Faces team from Robbie’s Lottery will be showing one movie in one neighbourhood on the island. This week, they will be showing the movie “Moana” on Saturday, May 13, at 6:30-9:00pm at Belvedere Community Centre.

The movie is FREE and everyone is invited to come and see it. Be sure you are there before 6:30pm as the movie will start on time.

There will be FREE pop-corn, juice, water and perhaps ice cream. Kids will receive a small surprise – so be on your best behaviour. Parents of course are most welcome.

Check the Out and About each week (and the Kid’s Herald) for upcoming areas where the movies will be shown over the next six months!

The only places on earth that orangutans are found in the wild are in the rainforests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in Asia. These shy great apes are known as the gardeners of the forest, because when they eat forest fruits, they swallow the seeds and the seeds get passed through their digestive system, falling to the forest floor where they sprout up again, producing new trees and starting a fresh cycle of forest life.

 

Orangutans are very human-like. They share 97 per cent of their DNA with humans, making them one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. Their name means “person of the forest” in Malay.

 

They have long, shaggy, rusty-red hair, black faces, brown eyes and a protruding lower face. They have stocky bodies, curved legs and very long, powerful arms. Males are much heavier than females at up to 87 kg; females weigh one third to one half less. Young males look like females. More mature males develop great puffy cheek pads, called flanges, on either side of their faces, and a throat sack which makes their calls louder.

 

Orangutans are perfectly adapted to living in trees. Their strong arms and curved hands and feet, along with their flexible hips, allow them to swing easily from branch to branch. They find everything they need in the forest canopy; fruits to eat and water to drink (collected on leaves or in tree hollows). Every evening they make a new nest in the treetops. The base is made from entwined branches, which they cover with a soft, comfortable mattress of leaves and foliage. Sometimes they even build a roof of branches to protect them from the rain.

 

Their favourite food is fruit, such as figs, mango and durian. They are able to eat over 300 different types. They also eat leaves, shoots, flowers, honey, insects, tree bark and birds eggs.

 

Orangutans are famed for their intelligence. They have been seen in the wild using tools. For example, they will use sticks to dig holes to get at termites or honey combs, and they use leaves to protect their hands from thorny fruits.

 

Male orangutans tend to live alone; but females spend many years with their children. The moms will have their first babies when they are about 14 years old. The young develop for 9 months inside their mother. Usually just one baby is born; though sometimes there are twins. The new-borns spend the first four months clinging onto their mother’s tummy. They are fully dependent on their mom and are only weaned from their mother’s milk when they are three to four years old. They begin to learn to climb when they are about two. They will stay with their mother until they are 7 - 11 years old.

 

Orangutans are critically endangered - their numbers have dropped by half in the last 60 years - because of habitat destruction (especially the clearing of forests for palm oil plantations and illegal logging) as well as poaching and the exotic pet trade.

Our ears are amazing – we use them to communicate with one another, to hear warnings and to listen to beautiful sounds like music or birdsong. They even help us with our balance.

 

Ears are made up of three different sections. The first is the outer ear; which includes the part on the outside as well as the ear canal. Ears are like cups collecting sound waves. The sound waves go down the ear canal to the second part of the ear – the inner ear, where the sound waves become vibrations. The sound waves vibrate the ear drum which in turn vibrates the ossicles. The ossicles are three tiny bones: the malleus (shaped like a hammer), the incus (shaped like an anvil) and lastly, the tiniest of all the bones in the body, the stapes (which is shaped like a stirrup).

 

The third part is the inner ear, which has a coiled tube, shaped like a shell known as the cochlea. Minute hairs in the cochlea convert the vibrations to nerve signals which our brains can understand. The inner ear also has the semi-circular canals, which alert the brain when we move our heads and help us keep our balance.

 

You don’t need to fuss too much to keep your ears clean; a gentle wipe with a facecloth in the shower should be enough. Never stick a cotton bud (or anything else) in your ear, as you could damage your eardrum or cause an infection, both of which could affect your hearing. You probably think that ear wax is icky, but it does the very important job of keeping dirt and germs from getting near the delicate parts of your ear. The wax normally finds its own way out, but if you do have any problems, the doctor can help.

 

It’s very important to protect your ears from loud noise. Loud noises can damage your hearing; sometimes temporarily, but also permanently, especially if you are exposed for a long time. That is why people who work in noisy places wear ear protection; for example, airport ground crew wearing earmuffs.

 

Another risk is loud music. If you are near loud music you should always wear ear plugs to protect your ears. Take care too if you use earphones, the top volume could eventually lead to hearing loss. Many musicians end up with hearing loss or tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition when persons hear annoying ringing sounds in their ears all the time. An example of a musician who suffers from tinnitus is rapper Will.i.am from Black Eyed Peas.

 

Noises are measured in decibels (dB). Any noise over 85 dBs could be harmful. A normal conversation is about 60 dBs, a firecracker pop is over 140 dBs, a motorbike is over 100 dBs and an MP3 player at maximum volume is around 105dBs. You will know if a sound is too loud if you cannot hear others when they talk to you. The safest thing to do is to move away from the loud sound.

Chickenpox

Earlier this month, Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health here on St. Maarten told us to be on the lookout for chickenpox; because there have been cases of children sick with it on Saba.

Chickenpox is a common childhood illness (though adults can also catch it). It is caused by a virus called the varicella zoster virus. This virus is very contagious which means that it spreads from person to person very easily. The virus is spread through the air when a person who has chickenpox coughs or sneezes; or by touching the infectious fluid from the blisters.

Chickenpox usually starts off very like a cold, with a runny or blocked nose and a cough. A day or two later, a rash of raised red dots appears on the skin – often on the face and chest. The rash may spread all over the body, in some cases even on the ears and inside the mouth. Soon after that, fluid-filled blisters come up on top of the red dots. These blisters are terribly itchy.

A person with chickenpox will stay infectious until all the blisters have dried up and scabbed over. This usually takes about a week; but could take longer. The scabs will eventually fall off by themselves. A person with chickenpox can also have tummy upsets and fever in addition to feeling weak and unwell.

CPS recommends that any child that has suspected chickenpox should be taken to be checked and monitored by the family doctor. Though chickenpox is usually not a serious health threat; serious complications can sometimes occur and the doctor can advise you about them. Children should remain off school for at least a week, so they can recover and to help prevent spreading the illness to others.

Kids with chickenpox are always told not to scratch, as it could break the blisters and spread the infection or let germs in. Scratching could also leave scars. It’s very hard not to scratch, because the blisters are so itchy. Laying a cool, clean face cloth on the itchy spots, or taking a cool bath could help soothe the itch. It’s a good idea to make sure your fingernails are cut short, to help avoid scratching. Your parents may dab calamine lotion on the spots. The doctor may also give you a cream or lotion to help ease the itching.

If you have chickenpox, you should keep your hands clean, washing them often with soap and running water. If you are coughing, make sure you cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow so that the virus doesn’t go into the air and infect other people when they breathe. Surfaces around the house should be cleaned with disinfectant; and bed linen, towels and clothes should be changed and washed often.

Always tell your parents or an adult if you are feeling very ill, if you have a high fever or if your skin feels very hot and sore.

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