How US-based Kenyan nurse uses storytelling to heal COVID-19 patients

George Otieno
US-based Kenyan nurse George Otieno. [Photo: YouTube]

George Otieno, a Kenyan based in the US is a legend at the Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital where his input in saving the lives of COVID-19 patients comes in handy.

He is a trained nurse by profession but he has another talent – instrumental storytelling – which he has roped in to put a smile on the faces of patients battling coronavirus.

In an interview with a local daily, Otieno said that he was always moved by the pain he saw in his patients and thought that his storytelling technique would be therapeutic.

“It is such a therapeutic moment to see patients deflected by my stories or riddles as they mitigate the big pandemic,” he said.

Otieno runs the Fishmonger Stories series on his YouTube channel. He is conversant with Kenyan fables which many relate to due to the trickery mastered by the main character, the hare and powerful African jumbos.

The US-based nurse also talks extensively about popular legends such as Lwanda Magere and his all-time favourite national football team, Gor Mahia FC.

What’s unique about his storytelling technique are the drums and lyrical sounds for interludes in his storytelling sessions. This has been a charm for many.

Otieno while storytelling dons traditional regalia matching the particular subject.

His patients love his stories as they learn about new cultures in the traditional African setting and their significance too.

He explained that the idea to charm patients was borne by his family, his children especially whom he would tell these stories to after work.

“I was telling my stories every day to my children at home and especially after work and it has been such a fan so we figured out, why don’t we share this beautiful experience with people out there?” he explains.

Born in Rusinga Island in Nyanza, Otieno is a true son of the soil. His label “Fishmonger Stories” was inspired by his roots in the island whose main economic activity is fishing.