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Reclaiming the Village through Education: Re-awakening – Tell Your Story

Reclaiming the Village through Education: Re-awakening – Tell Your Story by  Sirena Dieudonné

Author(s): Sirena Dieudonné

Abstract:

How does one reclaim a village? This piece is about filling an empty space. A soul left to wither and die from knowledge stolen generations ago. I am only one person on a quest to reclaim knowledge meant to nourish my soul and generations to come. A journey which no one who has not experienced the emptiness, can understand. Imagine, never at rest because of the yearn to learn, just who you are. So many souls left to wither away a slow and painful death. To die of starvation is a painful death. The pain from hunger, the body craving nourishment, yet none in sight. Grabbing and clenching at your core leaving your body doubled over from pain. All life activity ceases to be carried out with clear focus because the nucleus of all human consciousness is centered around a basic need, nourishment. After all what is a body with no nourishment? An empty shell. The village, the place of protection and nourishment, once known is no more. This colonized environment has continued to snuff out the light of my people’s souls. The light has grown so dim we are losing control of who we once were, but there is power in our stories. We can keep our flames burning through our stories. Sankofa, retrieve what was ours, go back, get your knowledge and return. Reclaim the village.


Article:

 

 

How does one reclaim a village? This piece is about filling an empty space. A soul left to wither and die from knowledge stolen generations ago. I am only one person on a quest to reclaim knowledge meant to nourish my soul and generations to come. A journey which no one who has not experienced the emptiness, can understand. Imagine, never at rest because of the yearn to learn, just who you are. So many souls left to wither away a slow and painful death. To die of starvation is a painful death. The pain from hunger, the body craving nourishment, yet none in sight. Grabbing and clenching at your core leaving your body doubled over from pain. All life activity ceases to be carried out with clear focus because the nucleus of all human consciousness is centered around a basic need, nourishment. After all what is a body with no nourishment? An empty shell. The village, the place of protection and nourishment, once known is no more. This colonized environment has continued to snuff out the light of my people’s souls. The light has grown so dim we are losing control of who we once were, but there is power in our stories. We can keep our flames burning through our stories. Sankofa, retrieve what was ours, go back, get your knowledge and return. Reclaim the village.

 

Sankofa (pronounced SAHN-koh-fah) is a word in the Akan Twi and Fante languages of Ghana that translates to "retrieve" (literally "go back and get"; san - to return; ko - to go; fa - to fetch, to seek and take) and also refers to the Bono Adinkra symbol represented either with a stylized heart shape or by a bird with its head turned backwards while its feet face forward carrying a precious egg in its mouth. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," or “Sankofa w’onkyir” which translates as: "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten."[1][2] It implores for Africans to reach back into ancient history for traditions and customs that have been left behind.


Author(s)

Sirena Dieudonné Sirena Dieudonné

Sirena Reneé Dieudonné is a Community Psychologist working as an educator in the public-school system whose service includes both instructional and leadership roles. Sirena believes her efforts in both of these fields seek to enrich and improve the lives of the students she serves as well as extend a service to the community. Sirena has supported her students and the community in developing and delivering curriculum which is culturally conscious and specific to the needs of the students. Sirena has served on and participated in joint district committees for discipline, special education, and the resilience team. Sirena’s knowledge in the field is evidenced and supported by multiple certifications specific to special education, (Learning Behavior Specialist, Learning Disabilities, and Mental Retardation) in both elementary and secondary education, Child and Day Care Services, Art and Principal Certification. Sirena holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family from Southern Illinois University; a Master of Science in Education, and a degree in Special Education from Chicago State University. She is currently a doctoral candidate of Community Psychology at National Louis University. Sirena’s professional affiliations include the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), National Education Association (NEA), Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA), Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), American Evaluation Association (AEA), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the National Urban League.


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Keywords: narrative inquiry; storytelling; community practice; empowerment; resilience;