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The Lion’s Roar, A Community and Compassion Initiative tells a sad story.

In 2005 Laura Simms, a US storyteller and activist,  faced with the tragic reality of caged starving animals in a Zoo from a small Romanian town, had a plan:

“within four years the zoo will be up to EU standards, the animals will be healthy and Buhusi itself will have a practical and self-sustaining plan for industry, cultural activities, tolerance and tourism.”

After a few months the project initiators learned first hand about “greed and a kind of pride that stood between change and comfort” of local people responsible for the zoo. Players and partners were reevaluated in 2006 only to be challenged again in January 2007 as Romania was entering the EU. The Buhusi Zoo did not meet the European standards at that time and was closed down.  The initial dreams had to be reduced to a main dream of finding new homes for the animals. Two years later the last of the initial 45 animals found a better place to live.

The Lion’s Roar shared the story of this project and stories about the animals with love and compassion. Bella’s story is just one of them, one that has a happy ending.

The four-year plan was successful. At least for most of the animals. It took the hard work and the dedication of passionate people to save the animals from a reality that was killing them.

The questions that I have now are: who has the plan, how many years and where we could find the passion to fight for the people in Buhusi (and other places in Romania) whose lives during Communism and after resembled, in so many ways,  the lives of caged creatures.

Laura Simms tells stories on “How to find Romania“. I don’t know if she adds anything from The Lion’s Roar experience to her grandmother’s stories but I am very interested to listen to the (human) stories that she collected during her work in Romania.

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Our Uruguayan friends came to study in US, were our neighbors for four years and recently returned to their country. They   saw this movie and insisted that I should see it too.  It is a video with  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s presentation at TED.

She is sharing her stories but manages, as good tellers do,  to tell the stories of many people. Among them, she is telling of  the lessons learned while being an international student in US, where “international” is mostly developing countries and where “learning” is not limited to what is thought in classes.

I’ve been living for some years now in the international community of Orchard Downs in Champaign-Urbana campus in US and her stories resonated so much with me. It is true that we, as outsiders, are often expected to fit the  given stereotype but is nonetheless true that we bring here our own single story version of the others. In time though, we get to share and live new stories together and the one story becomes many stories and many friends. As a proof for this I have my dear friends, who are getting ready for summer in Montevideo but long for the colorful fall of Illinois, that think of their Romanian friend when they hear Chimamanda Adichie speak.

There is  something else that, I suspect will get sooner or later into  Adichie’s work (if is not there already). Once you know multiple stories and connect in a meaningful way with the other … you cannot accept one story versions anymore. The hard part though is that people around you will continue to be happy with what they know: the single true story.

There are many stories that are told or are telling themselves online all the time.  I am thinking about sharing some of those stories here. Until I’ll decide more on how to do this better, here is the first one. Enjoy!

Once upon a time there lived a little girl…

She didn’t have much time to rest, for another challenge very scary and (a)live was awaiting.


(click here if that does not work, watch it anc come back for the rest of the story)
What happened next is meant for stories with courageous boys and girls, just like you.

To be continued

Sweet dreams everyone!

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