George traveled to Iraq numerous times from 1997-2003. His purpose was to learn first-hand about the effects of economic sanctions on the Iraqi people and to bring desperately needed medical supplies to public hospitals.
In 2009 George went to Amman, Jordan to meet with and interview Iraqi refugees and to participate in a two-week summer art camp organized by Collateral Repair Project (CRP), a grassroots effort to aid Iraqi refugees by connecting them with vital social services in the Jordanian capital.
Besides helping out with the daily art lessons involving Iraqi and Jordanian kids, George directed a theatrical production of a Palestinian folktale, which the children performed for their families at the end of the program.
In the evenings, George and the CRP team visited the homes of Iraqi refugees. Thanks to the level of trust CRP had previously established with these families, he was able to obtain in-depth accounts of the circumstances that had forced them to leave Iraq, the challenges they faced as refugees in Amman, and their hopes for a better life once they had been cleared for resettlement.
Rave Reviews for George’s Middle Eastern Storytelling Programs
from Susan Alatalo, Publicist/Community Outreach, Arts Alliance, Hudson, MA.
“George Capaccio’s warmth comes from deep within and gently spills out as he tells animated stories from very long ago and very far away. When he performed in Marlborough, it was like a camel ride where one unexpectedly uncovers an oasis of exotic tales, customs, books, props and clothing.
“George spoke of animal characters, foreign expressions and people like us in his vibrant fables, which he patiently related to help us all learn valuable lessons. Both age-challenged children and youth-challenged oldsters affably responded to his understated wisdom and gladly interacted with his storytelling program, even dressing in traditional garb George brought from his travels to the Middle East.
“What a timeless and, yet entertaining, way to learn about others’ cultural traditions.”
from Gail Sousa, Ed.D., Administrator, Head Teacher/ Winn Brook School Child Care, 97 Waterhorse Road, Belmont, MA
“George Capaccio visited our KED class of 40 kindergarteners on Thursday, March 1. The children were enthralled with his presentation of animal fables. George proved himself to be a worthy entertainer.
“George’s stories were not only entertaining but also instructive. The children learned lessons of kindness and sharing. Since the stories are from the Middle East, George taught the children simple greetings in Arabic as well as displaying traditional garments for the children to wear. The interaction was enjoyable. Most impressive was George’s referral to the Middle East in such a positive way.
“This was a very unique presentation with information about culture and tradition. George’s voice inflections captivated the children, and they responded with laughter and pleasure. You will appreciate a very delightful experience.”
from Rev. Dr. Rebecca Pugh Brown, Pastor/First Church in Ipswich, MA
“Dear George, We loved your visit, thank you so very much. People came to church smiling the next day, thrilled with your stories. My children keep bringing them up: the one about the candle cooking the pot of lamb stew, and the story of the lost sandal in Baghdad. I was particularly impressed with the way you layered the evening: starting with the easier countries, softening our hearts, and then telling about Baghdad, the capital of the world, as it was in those days, this was brilliant. I had several military families there that night, and they loved it. It certainly deepened our longing and love for the integrity of Baghdad, for which I am grateful beyond all telling.”