What are you afraid of? / ¿Qué le da miedo a usted?

Since the beginning of January, I’ve been a participant in the Transom Online Workshop (TOW), which is an awesome resource for learning how to tell stories.

Our first assignment was to ask seven strangers the following question: “What are you afraid of?” Then we distilled each full interview into three sentences.

I translated the question into Spanish (¿Qué le da miedo a usted?) and got pretty different responses over the course of several days. Here are all seven interviews with English translations:


Interview 1

“Tengo miedo de los delincuentes; ellos roban demasiado, y es por la desocupación de trabajo. No hay justicia. Acá en Perú, prácticamente no hay justicia.”

“I’m afraid of delinquents; they rob too much, and it’s because of unemployment. There’s no justice. Here in Peru, there’s practically no justice.”


Interview 2

“Ser pobre, por el tema de poca atención que recibe personas pobres en este país. En vez de apoyarles, se trata como no existieran. No sólo el gobierno pero todos son responsables para los pobres, no solo de una manera monetaria pero culturalmente también.”

“Being poor, because of the lack of attention paid to poor people in this country. Instead of being helped, they’re treated as if they don’t exist. Not only the government but everyone is responsible for the poor, not just in financial terms but culturally as well.”


Interview 3

“En 1970, había un terremoto en Huaraz, Ancash y se cayeron unas casas, pero yo no entendía; yo nunca había visto un terremoto. Todo el pueblo de Yuncay desapareció—70,000 personas murieron. La tierra se puede abrir, y puede morir uno.”

“In 1970, there was an earthquake in Ancash, Huaraz and some houses fell apart, but I didn’t understand; I’d never seen an earthquake. The whole town of Yuncay disappeared—70,000 people gone. The earth can open up, and you can die.”


Interview 4

“Yo hoy en día no tengo miedo de nada por ser un hombre cristiano. Mueres como natural en el ser humano. Me pueden intentar de robar, de matar, pero salgo con Dios en la mañana y al volver a casa, agradezco a Dios.”

“These days, I’m not afraid of anything because I’m a Christian man. You die, as is natural for all human beings. They can try to rob me, to kill me, but I leave with God in the morning and when I return home, I thank God.”


Interview 5

“La altura me da miedo. Me di cuenta cuando estaba en la ruleta por la primera vez y mis amigos me dijeron, ‘Calma, calma.’ Tenía 14 años.”

“I’m afraid of heights. I realized this when I was on the Ferris wheel for the first time and my friends told me, ‘Calm down, calm down.’ I was fourteen years old.”


Interview 6

“Mi papá va a morir sin conocer a mis hijos. Ya está un poco anciano y perdió 2 hermanos. Perder los hermanos se ha afectado mucho; es algo mental, emocional, físico, psicológico.”

“My dad’s going to die without knowing my kids. He’s already a bit old and has lost 2 siblings. Losing his siblings has affected him a lot; it’s something mental, emotional, physical, psychological.”


Interview 7

“Dejar a mi familia sola. Mis hermanos y yo, trabajamos por la familia, pero sería más estabilidad trabajar en una empresa más grande. Yo era cocinero para 2 años en Estados Unidos, y yo iría otra vez si no tuviera esta responsabilidad.”

“Leaving my family. My siblings and I, we work for our parents, but there would be more stability working in a bigger company. I was a cook for 2 years in the United States, and I would go again if I didn’t have this responsibility.”

I selected the third one to submit to the TOW. Check out more of these kinds of interviews at the TOW Facebook group.

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3 thoughts on “What are you afraid of? / ¿Qué le da miedo a usted?

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