The CIAMO Découverte Junior Multimedia class got off to a great start. The theme of this session is storytelling, and on Monday our own Sim told the story of King Kpassé, who, when he didn’t want to live anymore (he was tired of the world and wanted to die before his enemies saw him) called his family to tell them to accompany him to his farm. To be precise, he told them he wanted to “join his ancestors.” So he took his family to his farm and asked them to leave him there. He asked them to come back in three days, and, whatever they found, to treat it with reverence, “Because, that will be me.” So they left him, and when they came back three days later, they found a full-grown Iroko tree where he had been standing when they left him. So this story explains why the people revere the Iroko tree in what is now called the Sacred Forest.
Tuesday’s class included another storyteller, this time an older man from the community, who is known for his delightful tellings of local stories. The children listened with rapt attention. They have now had two stories, and there will be a third on Thursday (Wednesday is a holiday; it’s the Feast of the Assumption).
My fellow teachers and I have talked a lot about what we plan to teach the kids, and what their final product will be. I will leave the detailed description to unfold itself in subsequent posts, but here are the beginnings of the plan: First, the product will be about the stories they are hearing. They will, in fact, be the children’s re-telling of the stories, and they will involve drawings of characters and scenes from the story. We started today’s class with a drawing session while they waited for the storyteller to arrive. The story they were asked to illustrate was the one I wrote about yesterday, about King Kpassé.
Not all of the kids are great at drawing, but I am delighted with the work of several in particular. I hope to encourage them to continue to draw. Here are some of my favorites:
One more thing: We also have a child gifted with a prodigious memory. He was able to recite most of the story without looking at the “cheat-sheet” (summary in French) that we gave the children. His name is Samson; he’s another orphan and he is extremely bright and very forward. I’m sure he will take a leadership role in one of our productions.