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'It  was 1976. I was standing at the desk of Addis Ababa’s most luxurious  hotel complaining to fellow colleagues of the UN that we were in a  bubble far from the realities of life.  A distinguished man turned to me  and asked, “Would you like to see reality?”  I recognized the respected  minister of a former European colony.  “Yes,” I whispered.  “Your  name?” he asked.  I gave him my nickname.  “Tanya! Like Che Guevara’s  love!”  I trembled.  “I’ll take you!” he added.

He  wasn’t kidding.  Fear mounting in my head, we were driven to ever  poorer, tawdry parts of town, up alleys, winding up in the middle of  Addis Ababa’s largest slum.  We spent hours there, talking with the  people, sitting in the squalor, and drinking the tea they offered.

That  day changed my life.  I had worked on population and the environment  and had already made up my mind not to have any children.  Having seen  the unspeakable disparity between people, I went into development. My  stories, the novels I am sharing, acquired a new depth.

This  story is the narrative of what changed my life in a drastic way.  Yes, I  was a pampered UN interpreter but after that I went into development,  into governance, and to NGOs (the Global Forum of Spiritual and  Parliamentary Leaders…  I was, by the way, the chief of voter education  for the UNOMSA, the UN mission, for the elections in South Africa in  ’94, yes, the ones that brought in Mandela.  I thought I would share the  picture of me in Cambodia with the two thousand-odd women who to hear  about ‘choices’, my way of explaining elections.  That was in 1992.'

You can read more about Tatiana Androsov's novels and colorful life here.

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