I’ve been working on a series of posts about the evolution of my foundational stories, which are related to the intersection between my Quaker faith, protecting Mother Earth, and photography. (See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/?s=foundational )
Hearing stories of widespread and expanding areas of drought today, I was reminded of The Story of the Drought, part of a project I was involved in related to the Nandi tribe in Kenya.
My friend, neonatologist Jim Lemons, has done a lot of work in Africa related to the Kenya Mothers and Babies Hospital. He knew Indiana University anthropologist Jeanette Dickerson-Putman because of her interest in Africa. When he learned of a project she was interested in, he introduced us to each other.
Jeanette has made several trips to Africa. Recently her interest related to why the violence occurred after the elections in Kenya in 2007. The Nandi tribe was most involved in that. Jeanette found both the Nandi elders and the youth felt tribal knowledge was not being passed between generations, and partially accounted for the violent response after those elections. She wanted to find ways to bridge that gap.
When I learned what she wanted to do, I suggested a story website might be a way to help. Developing a place where Nandi people could learn the language and stories they had lost or never learned. The stories could be seen by those who had moved away from their homelands since the website could be seen from anywhere in the world. I was surprised to learn African people often had cell phones.
Jeanette made recordings of someone reading a story in the native language while the English translation was displayed on a computer or cell phone screen.
We didn’t get to implement the project. But I did create one video of The Story of the Drought from an audio recording she had obtained.
When Jeanette returned to Kenya, she was able to show some Nandi people that story, that I had uploaded to the Internet. This photo shows Nandi viewing that story on a cell phone in Kenya.