, , , “Stranger in a Strange Land - Part 2”

Tell Us Something- Stranger in a Strange Land - Part 2

Our podcast today was recorded in front of a live audience on March 18, 2019, to a sold-out crowd at The Wilma in Missoula, MT. 8 storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme “Stranger in a Strange Land”. Today we hear from four of those storytellers.



Our first story comes to us from Dick King, who, In the 1970s, is traveling in Iran and has an uncomfortable encounter with the SAVAK, the Shaw’s secret police. Dick calls his story “Being With the People in the Land of the ‘Lynchpin’”

Dick King - Being With the People in the Land of the "Lynchpin"

Watch Dick’s story.

Dick King was born and raised on the Hi-Line. He is a sugarbeeter from Chinook, Montana. Dick  attended the University of Montana, and received a masters degree in American history in 1971, after which he became a Peace Corps volunteer, and served four years in Afghanistan. He returned to Montana in 1975 and married Tove Elv-rom in 1980. They have one son, Alex. Dick has  worked in community and economic development, and moved to Missoula in 2000.


Our next story comes to us from Ibrahin Mena who encounters a racist at a local grocery store in Missoula, Montana. The encounter causes him to reflect with empathy despite his anger and hurt, and he responds with love and kindness. He calls his story “What’s Wrong with my Skin?”.

Ibrahin Mena - “What’s Wrong with my Skin?”

Watch Ibrahin’s story.

Ibrahin Mena is from Caracas Venezuela. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master degree in Journalism. He has more than ten years of experience teaching at the primary, secondary and university levels. He was honored as teacher of the year in Caracas in 2014. Ibrahin lived in Malta, Europe for a year and half and arrived in Missoula in 2016 to teach at Missoula International School. He loves dancing, writing and traveling.

Ibrahin created a video about his experience upon returning from the grocery store. You can watch that video below.

Love & Tolerance at the Grocery Store (original Facebook video)

Jesse Ballard grew up in East Africa. Her first visit to an American grocery store leaves her amazed at all of the choices of cereal in the US. Jesse’s story is called “The Cereal Aisle and Other Strange Places”.

Jesse Ballard - "The Cereal Aisle and Other Strange Places"


Watch Jesse’s story.

Jesse Ballard is a local childbirth educator, lactation counselor and birth doula (in other words, all things birth, boobs and babies.) She is married with two kids and loves travel, international food and being involved in local theatre productions.

In our final story, Carissa Benjamin thinks that she got lucky when a stranger holds the door for her at a pay toilet in Nice, France. She calls her story “Stranger in A Strange Water Closet”.

Carissa Benjamin - "Stranger in A Strange Water Closet"


Watch Carissa’s story.

Carissa Benjamin is originally from Miami FL, and moved to Missoula in 2001, eventually making it her forever home which she shares with her husband, two young children and elderly yellow lab. She works as a physical therapist for Missoula County Public Schools and moonlights as an ice hockey referee. She also owns and operates a mobile physical therapy practice,where she enjoys working with individuals in their natural habitat. She also loves all things story.