I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Ochieng’s presentation on folktales from Kenya. The stories he shared were very unique because they came from a completely different part of the world and completely different culture then many of the fairy tales we have read in class. Most of the fairytales we have read I have been familiar with due to Disney and other cultural baggage but the stories Dr. Ochieng told were completely new and original to me. Before I get into the stories and how unique they were I would like to highlight how intriguing the manner in which the stories were told. I liked how he made us respond to his calls before he told the story to captivate our attentions and make us feel like we were a part of the story telling. He then turned off the lights which provided another interesting and different element to the story telling. It set the mood and helped everyone concentrate on only the sound of his voice with no other distractions.
Not only was the way in which he shared the folk tales captivating but the stories that he told were extremely captivating as well. The stories were different from most of the stories we have read this year because the main characters were almost always animals as opposed to humans. Another difference is that the folktales he told almost never involved magic or enchantment as most of the stories we have read often do. These stories were similar to the Jewish folktale stories in that not much magic was used to solve problems but was replaced instead by the wit and cunning of the main character. My favorite story was the one with the turtles and the cooking stone. The main character came up with a unique and cunning way to solve a big problem. I think that quick thinking and wittiness is an important message to teach the children listening to these tales. These folktales were also told through oral tradition as opposed to being written down like many of the European tales were.