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Kenyan nurse using storytelling to heal patients in US

By Hilary Kimuyu February 17th, 2021 2 min read

It is crunch time at the Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital and George Otieno is busy doing what he knows best, saving lives of the now too many Covid-19 patients.

Otieno and his colleagues are now used to receiving tens of patients and bringing hope to many who survive the Coronavirus.

“This disease is real and it is affecting many,” he said.

George, having witnessed the pain many patients undergo, applies his other talent – storytelling – to help his patients in the recuperation process.

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

Notably, 47-year-old Otieno, who runs Fishmonger Storytelling sessions on YouTube, tells Kenyan fables of the Hare and the Elephant and legends like Lwanda Magere and Gor Mahia to his patients.

“Once upon a time…,” he starts his story with a drum and interlude with music selected to bring the right mood to his ailing audiences.

He noted that his stories take the patients on a journey from one cultural setting to another sweeping them off their feet to a surreal environment that offers a great feel of healing to them.

So, how did this nurse who has treated patients in Central America and Guatemala decide to use storytelling to help his patients in US which leads on Covid-19 infections and deaths in the World?

“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.

Otieno’s Fishmonger Stories label is inspired by his beginnings in Rusinga Island in the heart of Lake Victoria where fisher folk make the large population.

Having gone to school at Arina Primary School and Kisumu Boys High School where he excelled in the drama and music clubs, Otieno was already set for performances.

It is Kisumu Boys that has also produced such great actors as Eric Omondi and music group Jomenes.

Recently Otieno tested positive for Covid-19 exactly 16 days after receiving his first jab for the virus and is currently under isolation as he recuperates, and he shared his experience on social media.