Hi, I’m Mara, a professional performance storyteller and trainer from Kenya and Scotland, and very proud to belong to two incredible countries. I have learnt my art from some of the very best. Being based in Scotland has given me the most incredible insight into the power and value of stories as it is a tiny nation that uses its stories in a big way. I have always wanted to use my knowledge for positive use in Kenya (my second home and where I grew up) but I didn’t know how to start. You see a Storytelling Centre like the one we have in Edinburgh, would only work in Nairobi and it would only attract the literati, which again was not what I wanted.
So one day, as I played on the beach with my daughter Imani, we saw a little girl building a sandcastle. Imani suggested building the biggest sand castle in the world and as we started, we soon gathered a small crowd around us. I sat back to relax but as I watched as more and more joined in, I realised that everyone wanted to help build the biggest in the world. I thought, maybe it is not a storytelling centre, but a whole storytelling community, so I headed to Mbegani, the village where I spent my childhood visiting my grandmother. I explained an idea that I had to people I have known my whole life, using the arts, culture and heritage as a tool for positive change and they honoured me by listening and accepting some of what was said.
Some of the communityThe Global Concerns Trust in Scotland thought it was an exciting project and provided a grant to help the construction of our training centre. The Scottish Government thought it was an exciting idea, because they agreed to fund a feasibility study to see whether this rural business incubator that celebrates the wealth of heritage we have in Kenya, could work.
This tiny seed was planted and is now beginning to sprout.
Next blog is construction begins.
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