“Storytelling as the root of community is a culture that we librarians cultivate. Creating a space that allows the sharing of stories— as well as a platform for listening to the tales of others— builds bridges.”
Wednesday evening’s inaugural “Neno Kwa Neno” event at a local café brought together about forty members of the school community for a fun evening under the stars. The atmosphere was relaxed, with dinner and drinks served by friendly staff: a delightful way to top off a busy day of teaching and professional workshops.
Kiswahili for word for word, the “Neno Kwa Neno” gathering was a cross-campus challenge to “tell a story- any story” using the PechaKucha– style of presentation.
The format is simple: 20 slides, 20 seconds. Presenters have exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds to tell their story as the kiosk of slides flip through in 20 second intervals. Touching on a variety of interesting and surprising topics, seven speakers, mainly teachers, shared their stories. The curious audience was rapt in attention. High in the sky, through the leaves of the bougainvillea, the moon shone bright. The Q&A session after each talk allowed audience members to interact with the storytellers.
Storytelling as the root of community is a culture that we librarians cultivate. Creating a space that allows the sharing of stories— as well as a platform for listening to the tales of others— builds bridges. Events like these highlight the fact that there is more to our colleagues than what we see during the work week. We teach, yes. And we love it. But we also live interesting lives outside of our careers. We’re goal-setting inspirers, ambulance drivers, Dungeon Masters, recycling activists, career jumpers, surfers, and carnival dancers.
Here’s to nurturing a story-telling culture and to the plans we are formulating to set up another Neno Kwa Neno gathering. Most of all? Here’s to celebrating the lives that we live after work hours.