Thursday, February 4, 2010
When I Was Elena
I went to a lecture hosted by Willamette Writers to hear one of their guest speakers at the Old Church in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to hear Elena Urbani-Hiltebrand talk about her Memoir When I Was Elana.
She was a brave girl even at 22. The year was 1991, when she left college to go in the Peace corps and spend two years in rural Guatemala, armed only with her dog, and a fluency in Spanish, she managed to make a difference in the world--something so many of us would love to do but rarely have the courage to do. She saved children in her village by hiding them when army troops came to steal them away from their families. It was a rough time when children were taken and forced to join fighting units of revolutionary guerrillas.
She spoke of her time in Guatemala and why she wanted to write the story of the women she met while she was there. She also talked about her writing process and why she chose to write in multiple voices.
I thought she was fascinating and an inspirational young woman.