Storyteller keeps Latino history and traditions alive
LOS ANGELES – At 71, Olga Loya has told thousands of stories in English and Spanish in Mexico and the United States, bringing to children, young people and adults tales that know no borders, awaken creativity and keep traditions alive.
She is the author of the bilingual book “Momentos Magicos/Magic Moments,” that tells 10 stories from Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Colombia and Puerto Rico, and which won in 1998 an Aesop Accolade from the International Reading Association.
“My stories are a window onto subjects like healing, racism, bullying, multiculturalism, forgiveness, the environment, the richness of each family’s legacy and the value of our traditions,” Loya said in an interview with Efe.
Born in California, the author spent a good part of her childhood listening to stories told by her Mexican paternal grandmother, who spoke to her in Spanish about experiences as simple as how to go to the market, or anecdotes about some uncle, or Mexican songs – an immense fund of oral tradition that lit up that little girl’s mind with the most colorful images.
She took a degree in education at California State University, Los Angeles and worked for many years as a teacher. Her way of instructing students gradually incorporated storytelling to make the classes more entertaining and interactive.
In 1980, after attending a storytelling conference for the first time, she discovered that this was what she really wanted to do in life and decided to dedicate herself heart and soul to this calling.
“I have two daughters and when I told them that I wanted to be a storyteller, they thought I was going crazy, but I didn’t stop until I made my dream come true,” she said.
“When I began, I told stories from American folklore, but one day I got the idea that I had a culture with some very good tales to tell, and I began telling stories from Latin America – and then I saw that I had stories in my family and in our traditions that I could also tell,” she said.
Loya’s life is divided among tours of different theaters in Mexico and the United States, and her presentations sometimes incorporate dance, theater and song as well as narration.
She also gives seminars at schools, libraries, museums, universities and even prisons, teaching her audiences how to write and tell stories.
“Keeping stories and traditions alive is indispensable for the soul,” she said.
You may be interested
Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find itKatherine Stanley - December 11, 2017
In the weeks since the relaunch of The Tico Times on Sept. 1, we’ve been hard at work to reconnect…
Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in QueposElizabeth Lang - December 11, 2017
The Bright Lights Boat Parade marked the official kickoff of the holiday season in the Central Pacific town of Quepos…
Strong winds cause three deaths in Costa Rica, one in El SalvadorAFP - December 10, 2017
Three people have died in Costa Rica, includiing two Swiss tourists, and one in El Salvador as a result of…