Although the initial goal of my work with the Indian workers was to write a doctoral dissertation, the sisterly comradery we developed over my two years with them made me assume a different role. I felt I could do something useful with my words and in addition to writing a dissertation exclusively for my personal scholarly gain, I decided to translate the hard data of the research into prose that was soft and palatable, something that would tap into the readers’ well of empathy. It was, still is, a complex alchemy of statistics and models into words, but one inspired by a deeply personal belief in a universal sisterhood.
I write about women’s issues because that’s my realm, a place that I fully inhabit and where my heart beats the strongest. The women’s stories I transmit to the reader and the cultural and political analyses behind them are the work of the anthropologist; but because the memoirist is always at work, these stories are always interspersed with personal journeys as a mother, wife, lover and whichever hat(s) I’m wearing at the time.
My father was a traveler, more in spirit than in real life due to financial constraints. From him I inherited my wanderlust and the constant child-like awe that comes with finding new places, peoples and cultures. Once I’m a foreigner, place and people birth stories everywhere, and writing about them is a natural byproduct of my travels. I come from a culture of magical realism, rich mythology and social literature. From my Colombian culture I inherited a deep love for words, a hefty army of poets and prose writers whose legacy deepened my fascination with language and ultimately the realization that I can make a difference with my writing.
Adriana Páramo is a cultural anthropologist, writer and women’s rights advocate. Her book Looking for Esperanza, winner of the 2011 Social Justice and Equity Award in Creative Nonfiction was one of the top ten best books by Latino authors in 2012, the best Women’s Issues Book at the 2013 International Latino Book Awards and was an award winner at the 2012 BOYA, Book of the Year Awards. She is also the author of My Mother’s Funeral, a CNF work set in Colombia recently nominated for the Latino Books into Movies Award. She keeps a travel blog at: http://www.paramoadriana.com/travel-blog