On Day #6 our storytellers went to the Irula Tribal Herb Center. This NGO is dedicated to the preservation of folk knowledge of the bio-pharmacopoeia of the forest. Through millennia, the indigenous Irula people learned of the countless herbs and medication found naturally in their environment. One “hands on” activity included helping to plant several saplings of Rosewood in their orchard.
STORYTELLING! MADE IN THE SHADE! Later on, the Irula women would introduce us to several of their villages where we would be engaging in cultural exchange through story-swapping.
Jeeva Raghunath, local Tamil storyteller was our liaison between two worlds: Americans and Irula tribes-people as we discovered our common ground: STORYTELLING! It was as we had imagined, listening and telling stories under the shade of a large banyan tree. Around us were children, teenagers, parents and elders. Storytelling is alive and well here in rural India!