I started the morning with an interview at a radio station, Viva FM, with hosts Carmen Imbert Brugal and José Antonio Rodriguez. I loved their laid back, relaxed style. They made me feel really comfortable. I played a little music, sang and conversed about the festival and the craft of storytelling. At one point Carmen tossed a question at me that I wasn’t expecting. She spoke of how many people have stated that President Obama isn’t “really” an African American because his father was actually from Kenya and his mother was white. She ended her question by asking me, “so what is your opinion.”
My explanation was rather lengthy and I might publish the audio of it a little later if anyone is interested.
Following the interview I was wisked away by Dulce Elvira, the woman responsible for organizing this amazing festival, and a storyteller and author in her own right. Dulce dropped me off at the main library where I had a talk to facilitate with educators and students.
I thoroughly enjoyed my talk with the teachers and students of Santo Domingo at the Biblioteca Infantil y Juvenil. I mixed the session up with a few tales, a little music and even some game playing.
When I finished that session they had a driver bring me back to the hotel where I had just enough time to clean up, take 7 bites, put my shoes back on and head back to the library for an interview.
As soon as I arrived at the library a few of the staff were waiting for me. I ran through the entrance and halls of the library and into a small room where an interviewer and television camera were awaiting. I really really enjoyed the interview. The fact that I was able to comprehend 97% of what I was being asked and respond boosted my self confidence in my language abilities immensely.
Immediately following the interview I had enough time to go to a quiet, secluded room and tune my Kora (maybe 15 or 20 minutes). I was retrieved from the quiet seclusion of one room and placed upstairs in the library in a room charged with the energy of about 200 children. Wow! Talk about exciting! I started my program by introducing myself, telling a short tale and playing music. I’ll post the video of this after I get back to the United States. I was having such an good time that it was difficult to bring the session to a close. The majority of the Dominican people attending were so gracious and kind that I, quite literally, felt at home.
At the door of the auditorium, Dulce and her assistant Pamela were waiting for me. They quickly escorted me out of the auditorium as I was being chased by half of the audience for who knows what reason. Talk about a Rock-Star moment! I ended up in a room laid out with snacks and drinks. All for me!
The driver arrived to escort me back to my hotel. By the time I made it up to my room I fell face first into the mattress and remember almost nothing else.
Am I enjoying the Internacional Festival de Cuentacuentos here in The Dominican Republic?
Need you ask?