Finding Your Story: Workshop Pre-Assignments

Please complete ONE of the following questions.

*Each response should include:

  • One written paragraph (4-6 sentences)
  • 5 photos to help describe your example. It’s fine to include a mix of old and new photos. Feel free to use your mobile phone cameras! You can also take pictures of old paper photographs.

1. What is your favorite part of a typical day in your community? Why? Describe it, giving SPECIFIC details. Try to paint a picture with your words! What do you see, hear, feel, etc.?

2. Think about a special part of your culture. It could be a food, celebration, a certain way of doing things, a special place that you visit….anything! Now, describe your favorite MEMORY of that tradition. Share SPECIFIC details so that we can picture it in our minds. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, etc.?

3. You talked about stereotypes last spring. Name a stereotype you discussed. Then, give us a SPECIFIC example from your life, or of someone you know, that shows that the stereotype is unfair. Explain how the person’s actions or experiences are different than the stereotype.

*Check out the examples below for inspiration.

Example #1: (Describe your favorite part of a typical day in your community.)

Climbing Home (Monteverde, Costa Rica)

Every afternoon, my school bus rumbles through the cloud forest town where I live and drops me off where the road turns into a path, winding up the steep mountainside. In rainy season, the path is slippery and it takes me an hour to hike up to my house, but in January and February the weather is sunny and misty, with rainbows everywhere and bright blue butterflies sampling fallen fruit. Most afternoons I hike home alone, but I like the quiet of the deep green forests and even the sad moans of the howler monkeys. Last year, my mom was sick and I had to stay with cousins in the city. There was so much noise and traffic on my commute to the city school that it made it harder to focus on my studies. Now that I am back home in the cloud forest, I use my long, peaceful climb home to think about my studies and my dreams for the future.


.Example #2 (Describe a memory of your favorite holiday or tradition.)

Day of the Dead (Guatemala)

The year that I turned thirteen, my parents said I was old enough to spend the night in the cemetery for one of my favorite holiday traditions. On November 1st, we celebrate El Dia de los Muertos, (the Day of the Dead) in order to remember family members and friends who have passed away. The whole day is like a huge party– we decorate the family graves with bright flowers and food (tamales, tortillas and sweets!) and there is laughter and music all through the night. That year I helped pick hundreds of orange flowers and weave shelters out of palm leaves to sleep under. While we were working, my mother told me about the years during the war in Guatemala, when many people in my village were killed. During those years, the Day of the Dead celebration was sad and frightening because no one wanted to call attention to the situation. But by the time I turned thirteen, things were more peaceful, and that cold November night in the cemetery was filled with Marimba music and good memories.


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