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Activity 2: Story and Discussion - The Brothers

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story.
  • Photocopy Story 1, "The Brothers," one for each participant.

Description of Activity

Participants hear and discuss a story about change.

Read or tell Story 1, "The Brothers." Alternately, you might ask for one or more volunteers to read it.

Explain that it is a Hausa tale from West Africa. The Hausa are people who live in several West African countries, including Nigeria and Niger. They speak the Hausa language. This version of the story comes from an Islamic collection called Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs: A Treasury of Islamic Wisdom for Children and Parents by Sarah Conover and Freda Crane. Say, if you did not do so in Session 9, that the story's opening ("Once there was and twice there wasn't.... ") is a traditional beginning for Islamic stories that helps distinguish them from history.

Ask youth for their reactions. Do they agree that life and death need each other? What if there were only one and not the other? What about right and wrong in the story? Who is right and who is wrong?

Help the group to see that Life and Death are both wrong in judging their own importance and the importance of their relationship. The only person who sees things as they really are is the spring-keeper. Because Life and Death fail to see themselves and each other clearly, their actions are unethical. They do wrong things. Early in the story they argue and compete with each other for the water that they both need. Only after the spring-keeper speaks do they see things clearly and begin to act in right ways. At the end of the story, their points of view change. They appreciate each other and comfort each other. Both are better off because they are doing the right thing.

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