As I mentioned previously, “Animación Sociocultural” is connected to many topics, one of this is the Storytelling method. The abstract below discusses my experience in Gulbene, Latvia, a workshop provided to empower social workers through storytelling. This is a useful excerise that enables our audience to creatively express their needs or demands, which they may find challenging.
Once upon a time …
In one of the Southern Mediterranean countries, a large territory of many multicultural areas, there lived 3 youngsters. Two of them lived in the group of islands that belonged to the realms of the sea, Canary Islands as they are called. Someone wrote about this people that they were happy, funny, humble and “warm blooded”. The names of these two youngsters from Canary Islands were Laura and Paula. Despite living in the same city, they did not know each other, but this, my little friends, would soon start to change.
In the center of this wonderful country of Spain, a boy was continuing his studies for a short period. His roots belonged to one of the northern kingdoms, where people were told to be colder, traditional, rural and different. But somehow, a few discovered that you needed to give time to know how they really were and let them shine on you with their own essence. The name of this boy was Ark.
Each of them woke up to have breakfast and start their own activities.
Laura, was a phycologist that had returned from an EVS in Italy, one opportunity that change her life and gave the key to ask herself “why not research for new opportunities in new places?”. Ever since, each morning she was looking for a new job that was connected to her experience.
Paula was an artist that loved music. She enjoyed music and lived for that. Her passion offered her the chance to visit many wonderful places. In that precise moment, she was signing for a new adventure in one important theater company.
Photo from danielpufe.com
Ark, by the way, was a polifacetic/multifaceted person, while in the afternoon he dedicated his time to go to university for his studies in Social Education, he was enjoying to spend the rest of his time learning new things and creating other artistic stuff.
…Until one day…
Each of them, received one notification in their email. It was an invitation for a special event about Storytelling that was going to take place in Gulbene, Latvia. They were in shock and answered: “Wow, really? Is it me?”
And yes, my little friends, they were the ones selected for one of the new projects of Erasmus+.
The days went by, and the date it got closer and the amount of emotions were “in crescendo”.
Till one day, in a blink of an eye, they were there, in a beautiful log cabin, surrounded by a lake without knowing each other. But our protagonists were not alone, they were accompanied by many others guests from Europe that were there, too …and softly, the sound of their names started:
Jagoda…Rasha…Daniela…Evija…Janis…Yekta…Carmen…Anamarija…Jelena…Sandra…Inese… Nusa…Sasa…Sanna…Niina…Ville…Onni… Edvards…”
…so was that moment, my dear friends, when each started to eye contact and a tiny and sweet sound of little bells uttered… “Welcome here “
…Because of that…
They did not doubt any second to get involved themselves in each activity or workshop of this training course.
They enjoyed, laughed, got emotional and impressed of the development of their abilities and skills while the formation went on…
And they realized that the fear of not knowing the language too well was not a problem if you worked with attitude.
They also learnt how to create stories with their own knowledge, from other perspectives, using elements of nonverbal communication and different types of Storytelling, like poem, songs, pantomime, dance, sense, comic among others. And they got conscious of how nature can be a teacher.
…Because of that…
It was the time to put into practice all that they had learned and show that they were prepared. So they worked together in different teams to create workshops. Students from one high school in Alūksne, a little Latvian town very close to the place where the participants were hosted, took part in these beautifully prepared workshops. And how was it?
Well, it was an experience that helped them in their professional skills for sure!
Like many other stories, everything that starts needs to have an end. And that final needs to be something special, something to remember afterwards, when the days passed. How did they do it?
They created a special “Charity Ball Gala” where they showed the diversity of their talents and gathered funds for a project that tried to help children that did not have enough financial resources to buy an instrument to play.
That gala was a success, one needed to be there to see how the lights, the candles, the fragrance of the flowers, the music, the dance, the poems….and mainly, the passion and the emotions that waved the place. And that is how the guests decided to say goodbye, with a bigger applause, while kissing and hugging.
…Ever since of that…
They did not stop there, despite the fact that each of them belongs to different kingdoms. They are still sharing the knowledge that changed their lives.
…Moral of the story…
The chance to meet people of different nationalities was a remarkable aspect of this course. Everyone shared their cultural background in a very respectful and inclusive manner. I believe that after this course, we left our possible cultural prejudices behind. In addition, we enjoyed the great Latvian environment, learnt about their history and traditions and about the importance of Storytelling as method to work with youngsters or other communities.
If you would like to be inspired from Storytelling method in his ideas or activities, you could read the “Creative Writing Cookbook”.