Rooibos in a time of COVID-19: Feedback from Arbor Primary School

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt lives all over the world, we are trying to uplift and share the goodness of Rooibos with communities around South Africa to add a little joy to their days. Increasing research support evidence that rooibos is more than just a tea. It, in fact, delivers a significant and valuable health contribution. The question certainly arises whether Rooibos plays a significant supportive role during this COVID-19 pandemic, which you can read more about here.

We donated immune-boosting rooibos tea blends to the teachers and learners at Arbor Primary School in Benoni, South Africa, and asked them some questions to get their feedback.


Q: What do you think of lockdown and how does it make you feel?

“Lockdown makes me feel locked down because you can’t go play with your friends and you can’t visit your family.”Molemo, age 12

“Lockdown made me feel sad and happy at the same time. I enjoyed lockdown as I got to spend time with my family. I didn’t like that a lot of people died and we never knew what was going on. This was the negative thing.”Lesego, age 10

“It made me feel like I couldn’t communicate with my friends, and it was very stressful. Especially schoolwork.”Kayla, age 11

“It makes me feel sad and distant/far away from my friends. Lockdown really isn’t very nice.” Aarav, age 11

“I don’t like lockdown, and I don’t think it is nice. It makes me feel sad and mad.”Alicia, age 7

Q: Which Carmién tea is your favourite and why?

“I like the Focus tea, it helps me at school as it helps me to focus and pay attention in class.”Molemo, age 12

Relax tea, it helps me calm down and relax and not get too hyped up over tests. I also recommended it to my family who are going through stressful times, and it helps them relax.”Lesego, age 10

“I like the Sleepy Time tea because it helps me relax with my panic attacks.”Kayla, age 11

“The one that tastes like strawberry, the Sleepy Time tea.” Aarav, age 11

“I like the Sleepy Time tea because it helps with my anxiety.”Alicia, age 7


Q: As a teacher, how has lockdown affected your life?

“Constant change and to be prepared that schools can close and open at any time. Adapting lessons to present them online in videos- during last year’s lockdown even using kitchen utensils as mathematics apparatus to teach a concept as that is what I had available. Lines being blurred even more so between work time and private time. Trying to create a balance between what my children at school need and what my family needs at home.”Cara, Grade 1 Teacher

“Lockdown has changed my life as a teacher drastically. The constant awareness of having to remember to social distance from our children and keeping them safe has placed extra stress on our shoulders. The fact that we as teachers must be prepared is a given, but now we have to be extra aware of ensuring our preparation and work is covering all that needs to be covered in case of a future lockdown. We learnt with difficulty last year, that many children do not have access to the internet – therefore our work packs and worksheets need to be clear and thorough – which is an extra burden on teachers if they are unable to teach the concepts first. Furthermore, our own lives and the lives of our families are always of concern. At first, we were vigilant when leaving school at the end of the day – taking a shower and washing our clothes as soon as we got home to ensure the safety of our loved ones. The extra burden of washing hands constantly and wiping down surfaces did not end there. After purchasing groceries, most of us wiped down all items just to be safe. All this has been very time consuming and stressful. We apply the same methodology at school – wiping down surfaces, sanitizing constantly, wiping books, pens, pencils… the chores go on and on! Our freedom has been affected and I am not sure we will ever get that back. Consoling a traumatized child has been difficult, we cannot wipe away their tears or give them a little pat just to say everything will be alright. Strangely, most of us have coped. Just goes to show how the human spirit can adapt to change albeit difficult and demanding. I have personally found that my faith has strengthened, and I take each day as it comes. I have learnt too that we cannot be pedantic about getting things done, plans often change. I take one day at a time, one step at a time. I try not to sweat the small stuff, as we are all under immense stress and frustration.”Jeannie, Grade 5 Teacher

“As a teacher, it took my ability to be a hands-on and compassionate teacher away. As a natural science teacher, practical activities were a big part of my syllabus and we have been unable to do these. I have adapted by becoming creative and using outside venues and allowing the children to work individually on these practicals. We are not allowed to console children or even give them a hug on a bad day, this is very sad especially in these times when there is so much trauma and sorrow.”Bronwyn, Department Head Grade 4 and 6

“I enjoyed the time with my family during lockdown but found teaching online and balancing my home life very difficult. COVID has changed a lot at school. The teachers arrive at school at 06:30 am to get everything ready for our children who start arriving at 07:00 am. We feel very responsible for our children’s safety and well-being well at school. The workload of the teacher has increased as major changes in teaching and curriculum have taken place. We had to change our classroom set-up to ensure social distancing takes place and most of our extramural activities have been cancelled and replaced with fitness training which can be done individually without using the equipment. The toughest part is offering emotional care to the children and staff under you. You worry the whole time about children who have lost fathers or mothers and how they are coping and how you can help them.”Memory, Department Head Grade 5 and 7

Q: How has lockdown affected the children in your class?

“Needing to adapt to a new normal in not being able to play or interact with peers, most have lots of anxiety created by covid, plus adaption to learning in a different way, sometimes online and sometimes in the classroom. Also learning without facial expressions is harder for younger children who pick up sound recognition by visual cues as well as verbal. Non-verbal cues also form an important part of how younger children communicate and the wearing of masks has severely hindered this.”Cara, Grade 1 Teacher

“Our Children at first were very fearful. They have slowly adapted to the pandemic’s expectations – masks, sanitizing, social distancing. I have found that their level of motivation is not what it used to be in the past. I believe this has been tough on our children who are social beings. They need play, they need to run, jump, dance and interact freely – and just be kids! I am very concerned about their future well-being, physically and emotionally.”Jeannie, Grade 5 Teacher

“The learners in the classroom are frustrated, they are not allowed to move, play or even interact with each other in the classroom. Their sense of normality has completely changed. The learners have become very dependent on us as teachers and cannot work on their own, even doing simple tasks is now too much for them. Their social skills have been affected badly as they now only know how to communicate through technology and have no compassion for other people.”Bronwyn, Department Head Grade 4 and 6

“A lot of our learners have developed anxiety due to deaths in the family or parents being ill. The children are very frustrated as we cannot do all the activities we did before COVID. Even their break time has been affected.”Memory, Department Head Grade 5 and 7

Q: What does “teatime” mean to you?

“Teatime lately means a chance to catch my breath and take a moment to break away from all the new stresses and try and collect my thoughts and unwind.”Cara, Grade 1 Teacher

“Teatime means TOTAL relaxation. Sometimes even alone. Mask off, sitting in the garden, having a cup of tea and just silence and fresh air.”Jeannie, Grade 5 Teacher

“As a teacher, it means a few minutes to phone a parent, copy a few papers or have a meeting with someone. There is no time for “tea”.”Bronwyn, Department Head Grade 4 and 6

“I usually only have a cup of tea when I wake up in the morning. But now, during the day, I have been using Carmién teas, to help relax or to give me a boost.”Memory, Department Head Grade 5 and 7

Q: What do you think about Carmién tea?

“I think it’s a good natural product to help children to destress and to help with anxiety, restlessness and sleeping troubles. It has worked for some of the children who have tried it.”Cara, Grade 1 Teacher

“I had a death in the family recently and enjoyed a cup of Carmién Sleepy Time tea for the first time at school. I felt instantly calm and relaxed after a stressful couple of days. I truly believe it works to calm one down and would recommend children to rather drink Carmién than coffee – many children enjoy a cup of coffee!”Jeannie, Grade 5 Teacher

“On a personal level, I love the tea range. When I had COVID it helped me to sleep at night. My daughter has a cup every day to calm her down before tests or exams and helps her to sleep soundly. I have found the range very effective and reliable.”Bronwyn, Department Head Grade 4 and 6

“My family and I have used Carmién teas in our household for a few years now. We love it. We like the Sleepy Time tea and Revive tea a lot. The tea works for the children. As a school, we have recommended the tea to the parents of children who suffer from anxiety, and it has helped them calm down. Staff struggling to switch off at night have also used it with great results. Some of our staff even used it while they had COVID and could not sleep due to all the medication. I feel comfortable recommending Carmién tea as it is all-natural, it is affordable and easily accessible.”Memory, Department Head Grade 5 and 7