“We who are well-known must take advantage of this to highlight the plight of others”
Carmen Posadas, the 63-year-old Uruguayan author, welcomes us into her home in the center of Madrid.She is happy. She enjoys life to the full. She admits that fate has given her “overtime”, thus enabling her to live at a leisurely pace and solely proffer a minimum of explanations. This “second youth”, as she calls it, also allows her to get closer to those in need, thus getting to know the world’s forgotten citizens better. “Happiness must come about because we are improving, because we are doing productive things,” she asserts.
TEXT: NURIA DEL OLMO PHOTO: DOLORES POSADAS
Our magazine La Fundación wishes to highlight the social work undertaken by many professionals in a silent and, in many cases, unknown fashion. Why do you feel it is important to commit yourself to the most disadvantaged? What drove you to do this?
I’ve always thought that anyone in the public eye has the duty to use this fame to give visibility to those who are not. I have set myself this task, not because I’m a good person, but simply because I believe it’s my duty. I try to help whenever possible and collaborate with all those who ask me, finding time in any way I can. You discover that the act of giving produces enormous happiness. And it actually takes so little. So why deprive ourselves?
In what way do you collaborate with Action Against Hunger. Why did you choose this association?
As a member of their board of trustees, I travel with them at least once a year, getting to know the reality of many people up close. We have already been in the Gaza Strip, a place that is suffering a terrible situation, and in Georgia, in order to find out how life is in the former Soviet republics. In March last year, the country chosen was Peru, where the NGO is carrying out over 1,400 initiatives. The aim of this solidarity trip was to witness firsthand the progress of their projects, which are not only helping to combat malnutrition, but also find jobs for mothers to help support their families. How was this experience? It was very interesting. Peru is a country that has progressed a lot in recent years, but where inequalities are increasing every day. It has succeeded in eradicating acute malnutrition, but they now face an invisible, relentless enemy in the form of chronic anemia. Unlike other NGOs, who have tried to incorporate supplements into the diet of the young ones, something which goes against the culture of these people. But the Action Against Hunger project came up with the solution. They thought that the best way to add iron to a poor diet was to turn to the ancient Inca recipes, in particular charqui ( jerked meat) and sangrecita, which is simply animal blood, just as we in Spain use it to make our morcillas (black pudding). This has succeeded in eradicating this disease, which until recently affected four out of every ten children under the age of three.
«The saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life” sums it all up»
How do you think we can help these countries to reduce their levels of poverty and inequality?
The saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life” sums it all up. I believe education is the key to development.
What exactly is your role in the initiative “Vidas en progreso” [Lives in Progress] run by Paz y Desarrollo [Peace and Development]?
This is a magnificent project run by a small NGO with which I love to collaborate. It gave me and four other writers – Almudena Grandes, Mara Torres, Rosa María Calaf and Ángeles Caso – the opportunity to present a book of short stories that narrate a tale with a happy ending of five women in the Third World who are inspiring leaders in the struggle to achieve gender justice and social recognition in countries with prevalent discrimination.
What gives you the greatest happiness at this time of your life, what are you most enthusiastic about?
First of all, there is my family. We are one big tribe. Then, there is myself, the period I’m currently going through, a kind of truce that life is giving me. This is a stage I appreciate and enjoy, after so many years in which you (and all women) drive yourself to be the best at your job, the best friend, the best mother and wife. We think long and hard about others, but very little about ourselves. When you reach 50, life gives you a second youth and a completely different sense of freedom.