What is hope? Chris took us in search of wisdom to help us find out. We realised by the end of the story that the stillness and quiet that has been imposed on us by the Lockdown might make us feel wiser.

Guari allowed us to meet a potter, who hoped to make unbreakable pots. Through a penance of stillness and quiet, during which ants built a nest around the potter and up to his neck, Shiva gave him what he wanted. But in time he realised this was not a wise thing to have hoped for, and went through more penance of stillness and ants’ nests to beg Shiva to take away his skill. I found myself thinking we should be careful what we hope for in a post corona virus world.

Martin’s story was about kindness and healing, both of which lead to hope. The young woman’s brush with porcupine spikes led to an encounter with a porcupine man who trapped her in his land. But the growing of a giant turnip, and the weaving of long ropes from its roots, gave her hope she would see her land again. There was a moment of hopelessness when the rope wasn’t long enough, but previous kindness was repaid in the form of a ride on the backs of an eagle, a hawk and a kestrel. Maybe, the kindness of others is what gives us hope during these days of confinement.

Maja sang a beautiful Hungarian love song which wove imagination and rivers which did not know sorrow, and finished with a lullaby translated from Yiddish to Hungarian: “Sleep, sleep little flower”.

Kerima asked whether it is actually hope we currently need or should we be asking for organisation and resilience instead? And her story, about a poor man’s hope for fortune, certainly showed how wit and intelligence can win through when dealing with a musical demon.

Nick told of the hopelessness of a war-weary soldier, who felt nothing, despite gaining everything; only when he lost everything again did he really discover what he wanted, and became willing to make the ultimate gamble to get it – we were left with beautiful harp playing from Nick, never quite knowing whether the bet was won.

The whole evening was in aid of Peace of Mind, a local charity which provides support to asylum seekers and helps integration. In the current situation the charity is providing hope and support to anyone who needs it. Sara, the founder of Peace of Mind, bought all the themes of preceding stories together by telling her personal story. Sara is a shining example of making goodness out of horrible situations and an inspiration to us all to strive for a better, fairer, more hopeful world.

EMma Bowers 16/05/2020