It seemed remiss - to me at least - with all the stories that have been shared by this project of ordinary, yet extraordinary women, it had not featured the captivating journey of its creator, Ruth Nelson.
It took 12 months and some gentle persuasion for Ruth to acquiesce to my appeal for an interview. The notion that she would become the object of interest left Ruth feeling ill at ease, yet her experience, I argued, was at the essence of the Creating Space story.
I knew Ruth’s personal story would make for a fascinating and inspiring episode, but as it transpired, the yarn - much like Ruth herself - proved difficult to contain and so, I proudly bring you the first episode in a two-part series.
We start with Ruth at 18 lying to nuns about her experience and inadvertently signing up to volunteer at a charity, Josephite Community Aid, with refugees. Following a stint in Tanzania, an encephalopathy left Ruth with three weeks to live and the prognosis of a living in a group home after she failed to die. Not content with just surviving, Ruth completed a degree in psychology and left for Africa, this time, again inadvertently, landing an active conflict zone. She spent two years in Northern Uganda and witnessed the region transforming from a state of war to post-conflict society.
When listening to Ruth, in her characteristically understated manner, we might be fooled - for just a moment - to believe her story is anything other than extraordinary, because it is. She possesses a generosity of spirit, that leaves very little room for ego. There is also a joyfulness in her manner, and despite the sometimes-horrifying and traumatic experiences, Ruth delivers humour and hope.
We hope you enjoy episode one of Bearing Witness: The Backstory to the Creating Space Project
Guest host Sarah Down interviews the usual host of the Creating Space Project, psychologist Ruth Nelson.