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The Storyteller

With my students in South Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines

It has been a blessed year. January began with me basking in the glory of service. At that time, nothing felt quite as alive as being a propagator of social justice in the grassroots level. I was a volunteer then, teaching English to adolescents in a far-flung rural community in Mindanao, Philippines. My students were the sons and daughters of farmers who toiled all day to give their kids the gift of education. Teaching was a challenge. Some students disappear for stretches at a time. When they come back they say that they had to help out at home or harvest in the rice fields. Education was a priority, but so was survival. Not surprisingly, they had difficulty learning English. With missed lessons and short attention spans, I noticed their diminishing interest in my subject. For them, it was pointless. Their future was set in stone, or more appropriately, in the rice fields. This broke my heart but not my spirit. I hatched a plan to convince them to dream otherwise. In one English class I prodded them to tell stories about their families and friends. They were excited yet cautious, but one-by-one their adventures came pouring out. By the end of the class, I pointed out they were already speaking in English, albeit in small doses. It was a pivotal Eureka moment for them.

Come August, I found myself cruising along the convergence of Asia and Europe on the Bosphorus Strait, in Istanbul, Turkey. It was the 5th World Youth Congress with a thousand budding world-changers in attendance. Two weeks of exchanging best practices and meeting delegates from countries like Egypt and Bulgaria was my idea of heaven. My perspective on global issues like poverty and quality education expanded. The Millennium Development Goals were common topics of conversation, something that never ran out in Istanbul. In a rare moment of silence, I remember being overwhelmed and telling myself: “someone has to tell these stories.”

I don’t believe in coincidences, only in the fact that all my choices have led me here. At the risk of sounding bold, I believe I was meant to be a correspondent. As I type this I feel my heart thump as I unite my voice with other women. Ours is voice that can stir a thousand souls with our warmth and compassion.

Right here, right now I know I want to share the extraordinary tales from my journeys.

From farmers to fellow world-changers, from kids in school to kids on the street, I feel privileged to know their stories. Because when I use my voice, I know it's not just mine. It's everyone’s I've ever met, every person that has touched me, every man and woman that has made an impact in my life. And the words I speak and the sentences that I type echo their heartaches, joys, experiences and struggles. And so I keep them intact inside of me, hoping that by being their storyteller, the world will know their stories.

A Scene in the World Youth Congress

Comments

olutosin's picture

JOB WELL DONE!

This i beautiful I am proud of you my dear sister and friend. You are doing wonderfully well.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

amorlynn's picture

Thank you for your kind

Thank you for your kind words! :)

irmia's picture

So marvellous! :)

Hey amorlynn:

Good luck to you.
Storytelling has great power.

FYI, there's an Indonesian film called "Laskar Pelangi" (based on true story). The story is about group of soulful children who want to seize their dream (though they're from poor family), and this is happened because their children, a female teacher. She's the one who has strong belief about the ability of her children! :)
The film is based on a novel written by one of her students. The writer, Andrea Hirata, said that he wrote the novel to honor his teacher.

BTW, the novel has been translated into English with the title "Rainbow Troops". Hope you can find it in Philippine. If you can't, just let me know. I'll try to find the English version here.

I believe the novel will bring positive value which can motivate your student, and keep your spirit alive :)

Cheers:
Mia

amorlynn's picture

Thank you for your

Thank you for your recommendation :)

I will check it out for sure! Are you in Indonesian? :)

irmia's picture

Yes, I'm an Indonesian! :)

Just let me know if you can;t find one :)
I'd be glad to send you the novel and the DVD (I believe English sub title is available) :)

Mia

amorlynn's picture

I met wonderful Indonesians

I met wonderful Indonesians as well when I was in the World Youth Congress in Istanbul. I look forward to visiting Indonesia someday. Hopefully next year. :)

marissabrodney's picture

What a wonderful mission

Dear amorlynn,
It is so heartwarming to read of your dedication to empowering the voices of the many strong individuals you have been privileged to meet. Your strength of will is inspiring, and I wish you the best of luck in your journey!
Best,
Marissa

amorlynn's picture

Thank you marissa! It's even

Thank you marissa! It's even more empowering to hear women such as you appreciate the stories that i have gathered throughout this life. :)

rhianr's picture

Beautiful Story

I am moved by your personal passion and story Amorlynn, your skills and will to make a difference. I agree that being the storyteller for the community is a gift that can empower and will instigate positive change - one step at a time.

Peace and best wishes, Rhian

amorlynn's picture

Thank you Rhian. In a sense,

Thank you Rhian. In a sense, we are all storytellers. We make sense of the world we live in through stories. I'm looking forward to reading your stories as well :)

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