WV artist travels to Tanzania

Imagine spending six hours each day traveling to get water for your family and community. That is what the women of the Marwa do. And on this journey, they sing.

Storyteller Ilene Evans will spend a week with the women of Marwa collecting stories and songs. Ilene is the artistic director of Voices From The Earth, a non-profits arts organization based on Thomas, West Virginia.

In an effort to document and preserve Marwa culture,  Evans, local storyteller and Voices From the Earth artistic director, has been invited to travel to Tanzania with faculty, students, and staff from Ohio State University who are working with the village to create a sustainable system for collecting water.

On their daily track, the women of the village create songs to tell the story of “Maji Marwa”. Ilene will spend one week in June in the village gathering stories and songs.  In addition to the preservation of this unique and interesting culture, the goal of the project is to raise awareness and money for a Women’s Education and Enterprise Fund through the online sales of the Marwa’s music, songs, and stories.

Evans lives in Thomas, West Virginia.  She has a Master’s Degree in storytelling from East Tennessee State University and has performed nationally and internationally, telling stories and portraying historical figures such as Harriet Tubman, Bessie Coleman, and Coralie Franklin Cook. She is an active artist in the History Alive!program sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council.  Evans is looking forward to sharing her experiences in Tanzania and teaching others the story of “Maji Marwa”.

Voices From the Earth is a non-profit theater organization with a mission to keep alive stories in danger of being lost, especially African-American tales of courage, freedom, and valor.  Miss Evans and other VFTE artists are available for storytelling and historical character performances.

For more information about Evans and Voices From the Earth or to see videos of the Marwa women, visithttps://voicesfromtheearth.org or find us on Facebook.

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