On the island some time ago.
The teenagers’ group sits around in a circle. They are unaccompanied children, some of them have been on the road since they were eight years old and they are now reaching fifteen. They are surviving best way they can.
We are not speaking the same language, but somehow we manage to communicate. Some times with the help of an interpreter, other times with the use of gestures and scattered words. “Tell us a story” they ask. I couldn’t be happier!
But it’s almost impossible to tell stories in a language that isn’t your own, a language you don’t belong in. Therefore we arrange for the folktale’s summary to be translated and then storytelling can commence in Greek. Even if they do not speak it.
So, this is what we do.
Narration starts – it’s the skeleton woman, an Inuit folktale as arranged by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. After the story, the teenagers remain quiet.
“We too are like this woman”, comments a little later one of them. “We have sunk to the bottom of the sea, waiting for the fisherman who will pull us to the surface”.
Note: a painting from P. Papanakos, “Boat in the Sea”, exhibited in Averof Art Gallery in Metsovo.