The land we belong

The land we belong

On 24th May 2012, I received a Facebook message from Mrs. Irma Ziepel Cucat, a daughter of economic immigrants from Argentina.

“Hi, do you speak Spanish? My mom was born in Vrtojba in 1916, her last name is Lasic Angela Carla, and she is buried in Argentina. Last name of my grandmother is Cernic. The last name of other relatives is Faganel. Best wishes, Irma Cucat from Argentina”

At the beginning of the 20th century, many people from Europe left their homelands. Slovenes were no exception. Between the both World Wars, around 100.000 Slovenians fled from poor economic conditions or political oppression in search for freedom and better living conditions. At the beginning of the 1930s, two young people left their homes and went to Argentina. The woman was from Vrtojba (my home village) and the man from the village nearby. They left separately, each in their own way. In Argentina (their new homeland), however, their paths were united and soon they created a new life together in a multicultural metropolis.

After nearly eighty years, their daughter started researching her roots and seeking people in her parents’ homeland. Amongst others, she also found me. Thus began a virtual friendship between two women from different parts of the world (Buenos Aires, Argentina and Vrtojba, Slovenia), of different ages and with different life experiences. But we had something in common – the country.

I take photographs. She writes about my village, although she has never been here. There are a lot of things she knows from the stories of her parents.

In 2016, I decided to go to Argentina and meet her. I went in a similar way as her parents did, namely, by crossing thousands of miles over the ocean to get to the “promised land”. I took a small wooden suitcase containing photographs with me and some Slovenian soil, which we are both connected to, each in our own way.