Yay for EFL writer & Instagrammer Katherine Wzorek! She’s a finalist in the Peace Corps Third Goal’s “Story Slam” competition, up against 12 other storytellers vying to present at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Please click her link to “Like” her story of sisterly bonding in Nicaragua. And enjoy her tale here…
I was never one to really keep a journal or diary during my years in high school and college. Most of my essays were consumed by school—book reports, hypotheses, you get the gist. But as I was moving to Nicaragua for the Peace Corps, I knew that I wanted to make a more conscious effort to write down my thoughts, this time not for a teacher or for a grade, but rather for myself, in the hopes that I could immortalize my experiences through my own words.
Now at first, my thoughts were mostly small things—complaints about the ridiculously hot weather, my daily routine, people that I was meeting in the community. But, then things started to shift, and I started to cover deeper topics that didn’t just skim the façade.
I found a love of writing (which I am continuing with East Falls Local!). I started writing about topics that were bubbling to the surface in my steaming hot town. I wrote about feminism and what it really means to survive versus thrive. These topics and problems were so blatantly exposed throughout my time in Nicaragua.
Since I’ve returned from my service, I haven’t just been keeping my thoughts and experiences within the confines of my journal; rather, I have been taking opportunities to share some of my stories. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a Story Slam with the Peace Corps group of Philadelphia. It should be noted here that I am a big nerd and absolutely love the Moth podcast, so I figured that this Story Slam was my chance to live out my Moth podcast dreams!
I chose to tell a story that had always inhabited my journal, that connected my upbringing in East Falls, Philadelphia and my experiences in Nicaragua. I decided to tell the story of my host sister, Mercedita. In short, my story is about building a relationship with my host family, most especially my host sister, throughout my two years in Nicaragua.
I was an only child growing up in East Falls on Penn Street, a place where there weren’t many kids around my age. When I was very young, I always desired a sister, someone whom I could play with and confide in. I ended up finding that sister 22 years later in life during my time in the Peace Corps when I met Mercedita.
I would like to think that I taught Mercedita lots of things, especially about American culture, One Direction, how yummy vegetables can be, and self-esteem. But, I think that she ended up teaching me more. Even though Mercedita was half my age (when I started in the Peace Corps, I was 22, Mercedita was 9), she taught me a great deal, especially about perseverance, or the idea of not giving up, even when times are difficult.
I loved having the chance to tell this story about someone who means very much to me.
Since then, I submitted my story to the Peace Corps, and I was chosen as one of thirteen semi-finalists for the first Story Slam Competition. If I am one of the finalists, I will have the chance to present my speech at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
But, in order to become a finalist, I need YOUR help. One aspect of the final judging will be the number of likes given on Facebook.
If you like my story slam, or if you just want to see a girl from East Falls represent at the Kennedy Center (!!), I would appreciate you giving my story a THUMBS UP on Facebook.
(Here’s my WHOLE speech, from Youtube)
Thank you for your support!