Stories from the Edge

“When people tell their stories……barriers dissolve.  Connections are made.  Trust increases.  Knowledge is transmitted.  Wisdom is shared.  A common language is birthed.  And a deep sense of interdependence is felt”  Mitch Ditkoff,   STORYTELLING AT WORK

How clearly our gathering of June 13 proved the truth of this quotation.  On that fine summer’s evening a group of 30-35 people came to listen to stories, Stories from the Edge.  The three speakers shared their recent experiences of living and working with people who have been pushed to the margins and forced to leave their homes.

The first speaker, Margo Delaney, a Holy Faith Sister took us through a Power Point presentation regarding the way the South Sudanese peoples were progressively marginalised over decades of exploitation by the Government of Sudan.  No wonder there was great rejoicing on July 9, 2011 when South Sudan became an independent nation.  However, in 2013 civil war broke out, and continues to this day, as a result of which millions of people have been driven from their homes fleeing violence and hunger.  Yet even in the midst of this devastation there are signs of hope.  There is the hope that comes from the work of Solidarity South Sudan in setting up and maintaining institutions to trains teachers, nurses, midwives, and farmers.  A second sigh of hope is the establishment of St. Mary Magdalen Primary School initiated by Fr. John Marren, a Kiltegan priest.  Fran Leahy outlined some of the recent developments in the school which offer hope to some of the most marginalised children of the Toposa tribe.

Lena Deevy, a Little Sister of the Assumption, gave an account of her work with refugees, mainly Syrian, on the Greek island of Chios. Listening to her vivid presentation created an awareness of the harsh reality of life for many people condemned to a life of utter hopelessness in a land far from home and family.  Yet even here there are signs of hope through the generosity and compassion of volunteers.  Toula, a local lady on the island of Chios started a voluntary organisation called Chios Eastern Shore Response Team.  Refugees are welcomed off the boats, tended to by a doctor and given food and dry clothing.

It was good to hear these stories.  As we were drawn into them we could feel what other human beings feel that we haven’t.   Our hope is that this experience will continue to deepen in us, drawing us onwards towards action.

Share this post