Today I would like to travel back to visit Zoe.
I will present pictures of my journeys to honor her for her birthdays. By doing that, I am going to show hints of the natural beauty and traditions of my country, Argentina. I would love to show you more…
My story with 92-year-old Zoe is that of a double journey.
Many women in Argentina and in Latin American countries have exercised the role of mothers of children who are not theirs. Ladies who work as “the help” in a household, but many times fulfill a role that completely exceeds their job description… I was one of the beneficiaries of this unconditional love. Zoe, the woman who raised me, lovingly exceeded her role and - with an enormous spiritual, emotional, and practical naturalness - acted like a mother to me. Zoe took care of me and my siblings as if we were her children.
Zoe's story is that of a young girl from the country, born in a small town of 500 citizens called Papagayo in the province of San Luis. 70 years ago she came to the Capital to work, and got a job as a maid in a house in “Belgrano”, City of Buenos Aires. It was my grandmother’s house. Zoe then becomes a babysitter for my mother and my uncles; in fact she lived with my grandmother until she was 80 years old.
My mother separated from my father when she was very young and returned to live in her maternal home with me and my brothers. Mom could not be present for us. This is how Zoe assumed much of the responsibility for the care and emotional support of my siblings and my own.
No one asked her to do it, she chose to become our “mother”. Zoe never married or had children; we were her children.
Three years ago I have been visiting Zoe in San Luis, at a ranch that belonged to her family on the outskirts of Papagayo, where she lives with her brother and daughter-in-law. It is a small town, where everyone knows everyone. Her whole family lives there… brothers, nephews. Visiting her hometown was like giving a real place to much of her life; and a way that we can all become aware that Zoe does indeed has two families.