Tonight was the monthly Menno gathering at the Graber’s house just down the road from us. There was a guest speaker from First Mennonite who has a project called ALICE Arts.
Helen showed us snippets of a performance she’s putting together. It’s kind of interesting. She worked with third graders in five schools over a period of six years. She had them choose an older person and interview them about their life. Then the children would write down a short piece from the elder’s interview. Helen would help the children put on a program for their parents and the elders where the children told their stories. She collected hundreds of these stories in the six years she did this, and now she’s turned it into a performance piece with adult actors, dancers and aerialists.
She wants to do the same thing with stories of Iraqi and Afghan refugees here and American veterans who served in those countries. Her purpose in presenting this to us tonight was to ask if we could help her find people who would be willing to tell their stories or places to perform for free or donors. I didn’t have many suggestions other than that she might be able to perform at local libraries. They’re always looking for free programs to put on for the community.
Then we had a meal from that part of the world totally prepared by Jennifer Graber. There weren’t as many people at the gathering tonight as usual. I was somewhat disappointed that one of the women I had gotten to know at these gatherings wasn’t there to say goodbye to, but Jennifer said she’d pass my message on. I gave Jennifer’s daughter, Abby, a picture of the rabbit I used to have because she wants a rabbit. I gave her brother, Aaron, a Comic Rocket business card. I gave a couple people my business card so they could keep in touch. And I gave Jennifer a hug. Goodbye to that part of my life.