On May 1st 2011, I traveled from Ecuador to my native country to say goodbye to my dying father. Two intensive weeks followed, where death was constantly looking around the corner, while life was still the focus – his life.
About sixty years earlier, my father survived a serious accident. He was hit by a bullet in his face, a bullet that exploded in his head. Doctors only just managed to save his life. With a new, but maimed face he had to return to his hometown, the small village of his ancestors in the South of the Netherlands.
Back home, he found everything to be exactly the way he left it, but no one seemed to remember him anymore. However, he was determined to pick up his life right where he had left off months before. His former family life, his friendships, his hobbies, his job, and … above all, his relationship with the girl who lived around the corner.
During the two weeks I stayed in the Netherlands, we spoke often about this dramatic period and eventually he asked me to write down his story. With the help of his memories and those of family and friends, but also old letters, diaries, military and medical reports, I reconstructed his personal family history. Embedded though in the inevitable farewell. An inspiring true story.
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Arthur van den Elzen (1964) was born in the Netherlands. He studied Communications at the University of Nijmegen in his home country and did his thesis at an educational radiostation in Riobamba, Ecuador. Afterwards he worked for two networks of these so called Radios Populares in Ecuador (6 years) & Guatemala (3 years), before settling down in Ecuador.
Nowadays, he runs a hotel & restaurant in the Andean market town of Otavalo, together with his wife Wendy. Also he permanently works on a personal blog on Travel & Books (travelartway.com) and writes nonfiction books. He has published five books so far (mainly in Dutch) and is working on a sixth. Histories that took place in Mexico, Guatemala & Ecuador. 14 days in May is so far the only personal story he wrote about his family. Arthur’s first book in English.