BELGIUM / USA
'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.