DR. WAJUPPA TOSSA, THE WONDER WOMAN FROM THAILAND
We all have heard about the pied piper of Hamelin who can attract anyone with his magical pipe. I have recently met someone so charming in my life like him, whose charm of storytelling can attract anyone, from children to adult. The person is none other than a professor and an International storyteller Dr. Wajuppa Tossa.
Dr. Wajuppa Tossa who is from Mahasarakham, Thailand. She works as a professor at Mahasarakham University Thailand. She pursued her Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Drew University, USA. She came to Bangladesh as a visiting professor at Daffodil International University to conduct “Presentation Skill’’ course for one month from 16th September to 15th October 2018. She has been promoting storytelling for the last two decades all over the world.
A lot of people aren’t familiar with what actually storytelling is. Storytelling is an act of sharing a story with one’s own sharing technique and the person who tells the stories is a storyteller. Dr. Tossa is a great storyteller, who is fond of collecting folktales (story from individual culture) around the world and share them with everyone.
I had an opportunity to work with her as a Teaching Assistant during her tenure at DIU and it was a wonderful experience for me. She is a wonderful person with her energetic personality and positive soul. She is an amazing storyteller with amazing techniques.
When I met her for the first time in a class, the first thing I noticed is her short grey hair and a black microphone. I have always seen her wearing Thai traditional dress. I have seen a person with a round shape spectacle who always carries her video camera and rerecords every class she conducts.
The students of Daffodil International University and the kids of Daffodil International School were amazed by her storytelling and were very fond of her. The students from DIU were always waiting for her next class to hear more interesting folktales. She shares a story by not only telling it but also singing songs and telling rhymes. The folktales she shared with us were – Human age, Best man in the universe, Hero of the Mekong River, The Whipping Python, How to break a bad habit etc and most of them were retold by Dr. Margaret Read Macdonald.
After working with her, I have learned to beat my nervousness while doing public speaking. I have learned the techniques of how to stay calm in any difficult situation. She always encourages the students to speak up in front of audiences and forget their fear and shyness. She has taught us how to cope up with the inattentive audience. She always encourages us to collect our own Bangladeshi folktales and share it with her and everyone. She is so friendly and simple that everybody can’t help but love her from the heart. I used to go for a morning walk with her and had a great conversation. The things I’ll never forget are doing vegetable shopping with her and helping her to learn some Bengali words.
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Account BenefitHow much do we know about a vegan’s life? Dr. Tossa is a vegan who only eats vegetables and she doesn’t eat onion and garlic. But she is very fond of chocolates. When I went to vegetable shopping with her, she was only showing interest in Pumpkin and Okra. She always drinks warm water and eats a very small amount of oil and masala. She asked me to teach her the vegetable names in Bengali too.
We always went for a morning walk at 5.30 in the morning to the Dhanmondi Lake and she used to take pictures of everything she liked. She really enjoyed the morning atmosphere and the Madrasa kids who were walking in a group just after having their morning prayer in the mosque.
She always tried to know about our country, culture, “do's and don’ts” of our society from me and told me about her country and culture.
The last two days were more interesting when she invited me along with the whole International Affairs' DIU for dinner to have her own cooked delicious Thai food. She cooked the food all alone and especially for the non-vegetarians. We had a workshop on storytelling and a farewell where she shared her experience of living here with us. Before leaving Bangladesh, we helped her to wear our traditional cloth ‘Saree’ and had a short and simple get together where she tried to sing our folk songs. She was looking so beautiful in the Saree with red Tip and maroon lipstick.
The last moment with her at the airport was very heartwarming. It was really hard to say her Good-Bye. Coming back from the airport all the memories from the one month was flashbacking in my mind and one thing was whispering in my mind – “ Goodbye everybody – Sa-wat-dee, Sa-wat-dee, Sa-wat-dee my darling.”
I Hope to see this wonder woman soon and want to hear her stories to become a child again hearing her beautiful rhymes and songs. Can I see her again? Time will give the answer.
writer: Sadia Afrin, A student of Daffodil International University.
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