Popular Ed and a Burro Named Maurice
Folklore is rooted in language. Often it is oral language, but it can be written, too. Sometimes it's translated language, which can mean linguistic or cultural interference in the translated message. Sometimes the message gets lost and sometimes it doesn't. At the heart of folklore, regardless of the language, is storytelling.
The story should remain the same from language to language, whether the story has been translated or interpreted. Folklore is the story of The People (capitalization mandatory.) The People--no matter their vocal chords' preference--reign supreme at Wayside Center for Popular Education in Faber, Virginia.
The Wayside Center embraced me like someone who loved me but also expected me to catapult myself to the stars. Earlier this fall, I participated in a three-day training workshop called, "Interpretation for Social Justice." There, I was given the tools and support to help create multi-linguistic spaces for the betterment of my community.
I won't pretend I didn't sweat or nearly cry at times. Interpretation is difficult work. Preserving the original story isn't always 100% possible. Yet Wayside encouraged me to try my best and to constantly strive to improve my translation and interpretation skills. For this, I am grateful.
The beautiful landscape there certainly helped calm my nerves in what at times proved to be an overwhelming environment. Just a half-hour's drive from Charlottesville, Virginia, tall trees and swaying grasses hug Wayside Center. There is even a burro named Maurice (Mauricio in Spanish) who always brayed at key moments during lectures and exercises. Too bad nobody knew how to interpret for him! Maybe Wayside will one day develop a workshop for cross-species communication. For now, it's doing a remarkable job training people in the art of cross-cultural communication.