Sunu Wa “Tell Me a Story”
Bringing Local Kastom Stories to a New Generation
Why does the dugong live in the ocean? Why is the scrub duck so ugly? And how on earth did that yam baby get here? All of these answers and more used to be passed down from generation to generation through delightful stories spoken from parents to their children in Laman Bay. Nowadays these stories are in danger of being replaced by stories of Rambo and Justin Bieber. Nobody wants that.
Last term my graphic design students (of whom half had never touched a computer before) got an intro to illustrating, digital imaging and desktop publishing by designing and illustrating translations of kastom stories from our village.
The translations, in Lewo, Bislama, and English, were collected from village elders by our principal and a passionate sociology doctorate candidate Rachel Smith.
Next, with the help of future Dr. Smith, these books will be printed in mass and passed out to primary school students across Epi island to bring the excitement of these ancient stories to the Lamenu children of today.
In addition to introducing my students to IT and design skills, we hope that these books will encourage literacy, help to capture our local language, and preserve a part of our local traditions for years to come.
(And we had a ton of fun creating them!)
Thanks to Rachel, Mrs. Makin, and my co-teacher Mr. Kolika for helping this project come to life.