English Transcription of Lenny Semptergui's Interview
Lenny, would you tell me a bit about growing up in Bolivia?
Hello Renée, good morning. Growing up in Bolivia? Well, in one hand it is beautiful while you are a child, and it is also a great challenge, isn’t it?, that we face day after day, because it is like being in the jungle, sometimes you are lucky enough to live in a good family, where you can find very good values that help you to grow, as there are some that destroy you little by little. The society in Bolivia… It is a great challenge to live and grow well in Bolivia.
When you were growing up, did you see violence between man and woman?
Yes, permanently, let’s say that the truth is that there has always been violence in the families, and then you grow up and realise the gender violence, but the violence in the family is… to a certain degree it is always there, sometimes less, sometimes more, according to the family we’ve got, that’s the truth.
And you wrote a book, and I have to thank you for this book, and it’s called The Promised Hope, and you tell us about growing up here in Bolivia, would you tell us a bit about your book and what inspired you to write this book?
Well, it was precisely the violence that I have saw, like among neighbours, at the schools, the mistreatment that sometimes happens between… between friends sometimes, since childhood, and as I was growing up I saw the relation between man and woman or husband and wife, already in adulthood, that the husband mistreats his woman, the woman has to shut up, and she has to be peaceful to keep up the appearances that they’re leading a normal life as a couple.
Did you find writing this book to be a healing experience?
Absolutely, the truth is that, to me, expressing all that has been like a therapy, because there were stories, things that I kept watching and were filling up in my heart, not in my mind, but in my heart, then you see how the others suffer, how can you help these people?, then it was a heap of experiences from other... from many people; many fiction also, that I’ve arranged in the book, but it was a huge therapy for myself, to be able to express, at least through literature, some of this feeling.
What do you think are the obstacles; your book is about generational violence. What do you think are the obstacles to ending generational violence in Bolivia?
The obstacles? Trying to keep quiet about the secrets kept in the family, I think that is a great obstacle because it is something that you don’t face, you don’t make responsible the person for what they did or if they suffered any kind of violence, then we try to keep quiet, and to me this is the biggest obstacle to reach a true justice or to understand many things, besides the violence that comes from generation to generation, because this is not only happening now, it always existed, and shall exist; as far as we don’t keep it as a secret, then, as we go unravelling the secret I think we go solving many things.
How do you think that we can overcome these obstacles that exist in Bolivia?
Raising awareness, I think that raising awareness from nursery school, in the family, we mothers have to be much more aware of how we rise our children, we have to listen to them, listening to our kids and expressing with our couple, the same, what we are doing with our children, sometimes we don’t realise, as adults, that we are subjecting to violence the children’s innocence just with phrases, sometimes when battering happens, then the kids see… We should try to increase the communication among the couples, try to organise more talks to the children, at the schools, for them to know how to protect themselves, take care of themselves, I think that would help a lot.
You speak about hope in your book, which I think is beautiful, how did you find this hope?
The hope that we can change, that… nothing can keep as it is, if we change our way of thinking for the better, then we can change many things, can’t we?, about our reality, about our future, and that is the biggest hope that we have, that things change, and that they change for the better.
And if you find someone going through a similar situation, what suggestions may you give them to find hope?
Well, what can I suggest? The truth is: what has happened, has happened, try to forgive, forgiveness is very healing. Try to change some thoughts that have driven us sometimes to have that kind of experiences; forgive and work, help each other, and love. The truth is that loving… forgiveness and love are the most powerful words for any healing, and there you find your hope.
Thank you Lenny, I appreciated your time, cause you are very busy and gracias for your story and your book. Just muchas gracias por todo.
Well, thank you Renée, you really are a very admirable woman who has continued this fight and you have arrived where you are now and with something positive to give to other women, that is the resilience that you have had to understand and make something good out of the bad things that happened to you, much admiration, therefore, and thank you for this interview.