The story of the Andes told by Roberto Canesa to 26 girls from Casavalle – 09/13/2022

What happens to a story that has already been told countless times and in every possible way when it is told again, 50 years later? What happens when someone, despite time and distance, hears this story for the first time in their life?

Perhaps what is happening is that history is being rethought. To acquire, albeit imperceptibly, a new meaning. That something of all that remains resonant. Leave an echo

This happened yesterday at school the rose bushes as a room full of guests and first graders listened intently Robert Canessacardiologist, told the step-by-step story of his days in the Andes after the plane he was traveling in crashed in the mountain in 1972.

The speech was delivered within the framework of the celebration of 30 years of work of Comprehensive Development Support Center (CADI) in Casavalle. It is a non-profit institution whose aim is “to promote and support families in a situation of social risk in the Casavalle and Manga areas through the educational, labor and social inclusion of women”.

They chose to celebrate their anniversary with Kanesa because “he is a great example for everyone, a person who inspires, who left several life messages,” the center said. “One of the ones we liked the most was, ‘It’s not where we come from, but where we’re going.’

“When I went to get out of the plane, which was in the middle of the mountain, I realized that it had no tail and no wings. When I stepped on the snow, I felt the greatest devastation of my life,” Kanesa said in her story.

He talks about the survival instinct and the importance of teamwork, the idea of ​​death, faith and closeness to God, eating the bodies of his comrades to survive, his friends and the power they had , despite the fact that several died there in the snow. He also talks about the mountain. He said it was a place where there was no sign of life, an uninhabited place and yet there were nights when the moon shone on everything and the stars were near and he thought that was beauty. He spoke of strength and of the ten-day trek through the snow he made with Fernando Parado until he found Sergio Catalan, the Chilean mule hunter who saved their lives. He said of Catalunya that his solidarity should be imitated.

But above all, he talked about this: walking. To keep walking even when the feet are buried in the snow, even when it costs. Keep walking because somewhere mountains It’s over.

Trajectory

Roberto Canesa with students from Los Rosales Technological High School
Roberto Canesa with students from Los Rosales Technological High School.

In 1992, exactly ten years after the crash of the Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying 45 passengers to Chile – players, friends and relatives of the Old Christians rugby team – CADI began working in the neighborhood Cassavale. It is a center that cares for the children and women of the area to contribute to the development of the community and improve the quality of life.

In 30 years of work, they founded a school – the first bilingual in the neighborhood – and a technological high school, a “only female” in the whole country, a CAIF and a girls’ club that serves 164 girls between the ages of 5 and 12 and gives them the opportunity to do extracurricular activities (see separate note). They serve a total of 700 families.

The mountain

Roberto Canesa and talk at Los Rosales School
Roberto Canesa and talk at Los Rosales School. Photo: F. Flores

Before starting the conversation, Roberto Canesa screened a documentary. There you can see, through the testimonies of their companions, images and videos, the full story of the 72 days during which the 16 survivors of the accident on The Andes They went up the mountain.

There they told how, for example, in the beginning everything was despair and death. How did they think they would be saved soon. How they heard on the radio that the search was called off. How they built from scratch a new society, with its own rules, with its own logic. How they distributed the little food they had. How they made water by melting snow on a piece of metal. How they decided to eat human flesh. How the tasks were distributed. How they decided to go for a walk in the mountains. How they asked God to help them and how they clung to faith because there was nothing else to cling to.

Kanesa later told his side. And then, when he finished, some of the 26 students listening to him asked him questions. “How would you describe the days on the mountain in three words?”; “What was the first thing you thought when the plane went down?”; “What was the first thing you did when you arrived in Montevideo?”; “What could you tell us about teamwork?”

Kanesa listened and answered all questions.

What happens to a story that has already been told countless times and in every possible way when it is told again, 50 years later?

Perhaps what is happening is that history is being redefined. To acquire, albeit imperceptibly, a new meaning. Let it resonate Leave an echo

That’s what happened yesterday when Kanesa said that it’s not important where we come from, but where we’re going, and 26 girls listened intently, sitting very close to him. This happened because perhaps for some of them it was the first time they had heard him tell the story. And because perhaps something of this whole story has resonated with them, left an echo: it will serve them someday so that they can continue to walk through Mountain chain.

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