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* Alexander the Great tasted a banana in 327 BC whilst in India. He is credited with bringing the fruit to the Western world.
* The first recorded sale of bananas in England was in 1633.
* In 1829 a plant collector from Maurtius, Charles Telfair, sent two banana plants to a friend in England. They were sold to the Duke of Devonshire who grew them in his famous heated greenhouse at Chatsworth.
* The name 'banana' is Arabic for 'finger'.
In 2007 we visited Shimbwe in the foothills of Kilimanjaro. The village is surrounded by coffee and banana plantations. I had never seen such poverty!
We worked in the local school for a week. The pupils arrived at 7.30am and spent an hour cleaning the building and tending the kitchen garden before lessons. The garden provided crops for the school dinners - they didn't grow the crops, they didn't eat.
I met one child who had to leave home at 5am every morning in order to walk to school barefoot and in the dark ... the register showed he was never late and he had not missed a day in seven years!
They were taught in English - their native language is Swahili.
They didn't beg for money - they asked for a pen for school.
An adult's wage is 30p a day.