Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dr. Ochieng's Visit to Our Class

Apparently "Monkey and the Shark" is a variant of this tale,
"The Monkey and the Crocodile".

http://naveen-portfolio.blogspot.com/2010/12/concept-art-for-panchatantra-stories.html

Dr. Ochieng was by far our most entertaining guest speaker yet! He definitely knows how to involve the audience—I could not stop smiling while we were singing the call-and-response song! Dr. Ochieng taught us that Africa has an oral culture, and that the people use stories to tell about a community’s origin, social foundation, and for affirmation. African folk tales tend to be witty, contain values and beliefs, and often have a moral. For example, Dr. Ochieng’s first story was about a monkey outsmarting a shark. Shark takes his friend, Monkey, for an unsuspecting ride on his back, when all of a sudden Shark reveals that he needs a monkey heart in order to cure his leader. Monkey, thinking quickly, lies to Shark and tells him that he must go back to shore to get his heart, for he hangs it on a tree during the day. Shark believes him and takes Monkey back to shore, where Monkey remains, safe and sound, while Shark swims off without a monkey heart. As in this story, Africans value wit and quick thinking—tools of survival that are often incorporated into folk tales. I especially liked how Dr. Ochieng told his stories in the dark; he said it helps to get rid of distractions and to concentrate on the voice. This is a great technique, and really helped me to visualize the stories better, since my eyes were not looking at other things and I had to focus on the sound. I loved listening (and participating!) in Dr. Ochieng’s lecture, and hope to hear one again sometime.

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