Finding Voice Through the Tradition of Oral Storytelling
On each of VoiceFlame’s learning journeys thus far, North American women gathered in a circle with elderly Malawian women to share life experiences. In the tradition of oral story telling, the women were asked to weave a story around a simple prompt. The first year, our theme was “hands and feet.” Communicating through an interpreter, Malawian women told stories of walking barefoot to the well to get water for their family, suffering with cracked heels, pulling chiggers out from between their toes and using their hands to grind maize or rock a baby or wash laundry on a river rock. One by one, the women stood proudly in the circle. They talked easily in their native dialect, gestured freely, laughed and cried. As we women from another country and culture listened raptly to each one, the Malawian women knew their voices were being heard and that their stories mattered.VoiceFlame will continue offering oral storytelling as a way to include non-English speaking women in the “connecting through story” program.