A tragic event left her orphaned and separated from her siblings: “Talking good things to me about my parents was essential for my desire to improve myself”
The father of Adriana Bañagasta (Evaristo) was the goalkeeper of a soccer team in the town of Urundel, located in the department of Orán, Salta. Many times when the games ended, she says, they would meet to comment or discuss some specific plays. However, one of those talks got out of tune and ended in tragedy.
“According to the family version, one of the teammates who was a neighbor from the neighborhood told my dad that he was a son of a bitch and that he had not stopped well. And without saying a word, my father threw a punch at him and this man got up and left the place. However, my dad followed him to two houses where the gathering was and that man stabbed him four times without giving him time to do anything. One of those stab wounds went straight to the heart and took his life.” Adriana recounts, according to what they told her.
At that time she was barely two and a half years old and she stayed with her mother, Lucia, and her three siblings: Albina (8), Ramona (5) and Evaristo (1). That situation, as unexpected as it was traumatizing, would mark a before and after in Adriana’s life and in that of her entire family. His mother, who was 27 years old, went into a kind of shock and could not solve any of the questions that were raised. With the help of some relatives, she decided that she would take care of two of her children at home: Ramona (who had cerebral palsy) and the youngest of the four siblings.
Adriana and Albina would live in the house of Aunt Olga, her mother’s sister who had no children, and she was able to put them up. Immediately after their father’s funeral, they took a train that brought them closer to their new home.
“My mother was very influenced by her family, especially by my grandmother, and, in addition, she felt that she could not work with four children to raise. We didn’t have time to talk about it, life didn’t give us that chance”, he recalls. And he adds: “I wanted to tell them dad and mom, but they wouldn’t let me, they sat me down and told me: `We’re not your parents, we’re your uncles Olga and Toto. Your dad is in heaven and your mom is in Urundel. They were always realistic, but I am grateful to them for their upbringing, even though they were very strict and very hard on me.”
Adriana says that she saw her mother and her other two brothers on birthdays and at parties until her mother died of cancer at the age of nine. “My uncles made me respect her and I never questioned her, but I missed her a lot, even more so when I was a teenager and I began to question everything.”
Adriana says that her aunt never let her miss school, except for the day of her mother’s funeral.
-Do you want to go to the Colegio del Huerto? he asked her during one of the talks they had, referring to the only private school for nuns that was two blocks from the house.
“Yes,” he replied immediately.
“Well, I’m going to give a pension to several workers and when you come back from school you can work washing dishes and pots,” her aunt suggested.
“Yes,” Adriana replied, very sure.
In this way the house where he lived was filled with pensioners, mostly masons and electricians from a construction site who went to have lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday.
“She ironed and on Sundays we made 1,000 empanadas, just the two of us. Thanks to her I learned to cook, to wash the pots well because you had to see yourself like a mirror or else you would beat me up. She was a bit rough, but she had a huge supportive heart and was very loved by family and neighbors. The relationship with Olga was good, although her aunt was very hard and straight.
Adriana says that during her adolescence she felt controlled and even oppressed, but, she says, she knew it was for her own good. “My job apart from washing and doing housework was to study. In my high school I didn’t miss classes either, I received diplomas for attendance, my aunt let me be a catechist, I was on the volleyball and basket ball team. Everything outside of the studio she supported me, in that aspect I can not complain “.
Faced with her desire to be a psychologist, her aunt told her that she could not afford the studies that were given in Salta Capital, so she recommended that she pursue a career as a teacher. And before finishing it, he was already working in a rural school where sapphire workers came to work in the cane harvest: “I felt respected and valued by the children and their parents. I learned that boys observe everything and that a simple act of innocence makes you reflect and that you are important to them. I made ties with colleagues and directors who became friends”, she gets excited.
At the age of 21, Adriana became a mother for the first time when Juan Àngel (35) was born. Then came Sergio Maximiliano (32), Luciana Beatriz (30) and Josefina Alejandra (28). Beyond the fact that 19 years ago she separated from the father of her children, Adriana was able to start her own family despite everything that had happened to her. “I raised them practically alone, with hits and misses, but I gave them the best I could, I tried to be a good mother, not a perfect one”.
Every time Adriana, who is now 57 years old, goes back to the early years of her childhood, when it comes to assessing her ability to overcome the adversities that life presented her, she is convinced that his uncles had a lot to do with forging a resilient personality. “Speaking well of my parents was something fundamental, but they particularly helped me to create my great strength, my character, my desire to improve myself, to want to have a united family and help others with the little I had. Thanks to life I always had someone who helped me. I literally cling to life and feel blessed to be able to enjoy it to the fullest with simple things.”
Adriana is retired as a teacher and despite the fact that before the pandemic she was in charge of a playground, as she is diabetic, together with her children, she decided that it was best to leave her job. And he took advantage of that moment to join the Winged Foundation, with the aim of helping, serving, guiding, training and containing many people in need in different aspects, mainly women in a state of vulnerability.
After several encounters and misunderstandings, being raised separately, Adriana was able to reunite with her brothers and says that they currently write or talk on WhatsApp almost every day.