Baladi - Media
Oral storytelling is a continued living tradition in Syria. In social gatherings of family and friends, women are at the centre of this popular art form, telling stories that are transmitted between generations.
Aisha is one of few Syrian storytellers to narrate stories in public gatherings in Jordan.
Each week, she tells a story to a preschool group at a community centre outside of Amman. Known to all as teta ["Grandmother"], the children run to greet her when she enters the room.
Aisha began by informally telling stories to other women, who also participate in events at the centre. When the centre's director first asked her to tell stories at the preschool, she hesitated. Telling stories to children and being responsible for her story was a new experience for her.
"Why should I keep my stories to myself?" she asks. She believes stories are meant to be shared, especially with the younger generation.
"The children benefit, and I do too," she reflects after one storytelling session. Her own grandchildren remain in Syria and she loves meeting the children at the preschool.
The realities of family separation are reflected in some of the stories Aisha tells. In one story, Aisha speaks of a grandmother who lives far from her grandchildren because of a war. In another, a boy must leave his father when he is conscripted into the army.
Like other Syrian storytellers, she draws upon lived experience combined with a long history of literature and folklore. Through storytelling, the younger generation connects with this history, which is largely unknown to them.
Source: The New Arab