During the winter, in the small municipal library of Arcidosso, the closest village to Merigar, a group of children accompanied by their parents meet to read short stories, classic fairy tales, and narratives from all over the world. Enchanted landscapes, fantastic places, and wonderful creatures come to life during those afternoon sessions. This initiative was proposed by the “Junior Book Club” run by by Eleonora Alfieri and Samantha Antognoli.
In early November we received a phone call from them asking: “Can you tell the children a story about Tibet?”. There couldn’t have been a better time! In those days the story of “The Adventures of Nyima, Dawa and the Little Yak” were about to be published, a story set in Tibet, full of fantastic creatures: yetis, dragons, and talking animals. The story, written by Laura Evangelisti and the Kumar Kumari Team, has a particular value as it is also a support for learning Kumar Kumari Yantra, the Yoga conceived by Master Namkhai Norbu, specifically for children between 5 and 12 years of age.
On December 8, the day of the inauguration of the “Pilgrimage along the Silk Road” and “Potentiality of the Elements” exhibitions, we met at the MACO, the Museum of Oriental Art and Culture, to visit the museum and write down some ideas. In the following days, the Kumar Kumari Team and the Junior Book Club set to work to define the event and set the date for the meeting with the young audience.
And so on 28 January we met at the Arcidosso Castle and from there, guided by Jacobella Gaetani, we visited the MACO. Jacobella was able to enthral the children by talking about Tibet, its history and its traditions, adding some fun facts that captured the attention of the young audience. We moved to the upper rooms to visit the Dynamic Space of the Elements exhibition, which featured works by artists from all over the world. We then went down to the multipurpose hall of the castle where Cristina Conticelli, illustrator of the book “The Adventures of Nyima, Dawa and the Little Yak” was waiting for us. Cristina has also been a “storyteller” for years, recounting fairy tales, myths, and legends in libraries, schools, and theatres.
The children gathered around her as she began: “In a distant country called Tibet, among the snow-capped peaks of the highest mountains in the world, there was a large hidden cave …”. The cadence of her voice, the pauses, the rhythms, the movements, the reference to the illustrations animated the story and enchanted the children who, at the end of the story, wanted to have a signed copy of the book.
To experience the sounds used in the fairy tale, Dina and Natasha Priymak, Michele Corrado and I led a short Kumar Kumari session. At the end of the session, we formed a circle and everyone, in their own way, shared their experience. Before saying goodbye, we made an appointment for the next story … perhaps in the Merigar Library … perhaps in some stage of The Silk Road*!
*At the end of Yoga Holidays which this year will be held from 1 to 5 August at Merigar and which will have as its theme: “Possible paths. Paths of yoga and meditation at Merigar”, there will be a day dedicated to children in which there will be an activity organized by Cristina Conticelli: “The Silk Road”.