This story catches our attention because it hides mysteries and vocation, but above all, because it hides hope. This is the life of Don Abel Montesinos. This man of almost 80 years is the only inhabitant of Achango, a mountain range town located in the department of Iglesia, San Juan. To get to this place you have to travel a dirt road of just over 8 kilometers. There, entering the Cuyano hills, lives in his solitude Abel. Throughout the province he is known as 'the guardian of Achango'.
For 25 years, Abel has lived alone in Achango. His solitude became present and latent when the other town who accompanied him died. This man's routine is always the same, although every day he has his magic. His only company is radio and its animals. He is considered an avid reader. The words of the Bible or the sacred texts are his favorite readings. Everyday she sits next to the chapel and reads the word of God. He is the official caretaker of the oldest parish in the province and the guardian of the “secret chamber”.
He is responsible for keeping the whole village watered and cleaning the chapel every day. In addition, it is waiting for any visitor. In addition to keeping the little green in Achango, the main task of this man is to orally convey the importance of the chapel. No one pays him for that task, but Abel does it out of commitment to his history, because he is united by blood with the parish.
Abel's great-grandfather was the one who fulfilled a religious promise, which would mark the fate of his successors. From his native Chile, Don Victor, brought on foot the image of Virgen del Carmen, custody of the church. That image would be consolidated as one of the key attractions of the chapel, as it is original from Peru, has natural hair and a silver crown. In the chapel, today rest the remains of Abel's two great-grandparents.
The beauties of Iglesia
The chapel was built by the Jesuits in 1655 and rebuilt in 1787. The small parish is humble and keeps a special mystique. Not for nothing it became one of the oldest in the province of Semita, wine and sun. In addition, the place has many particularities: the oldest chapel in the province, a single town, the image of the virgin Del Carmen, a secret chamber and keys in its extensive groves.
Thousands of tourists from different parts of the world come to know the place. People from France, England and the United States have come to the chapel to meet this jewellery. “ Although I don't understand anything they're talking about, I try to show them the place,” this guardian once told the media.
In the groves, parishioners and visitors often hang their keys, by tradition. They always leave a message, be it a wish, a prayer or a thank you. Finally, there is the cemetery. Abel also knows stories about those who decided to rest forever in this place. There are even his two children, who died in accidents . His past, present and future are in that place. He once declared: “I would never leave Achango, I know that I am going to die in these lands and that gives me great satisfaction because I know that I will comply with a family tradition that began 300 years ago.”
In addition to hosting one of the oldest churches in the province, the village has a secret chamber that was never opened. The mystery echoes throughout the province and, until now, no one could find out what is inside the structure. With regard to this mystery, Abel was able to reflect: " I don't know what to think. I don't know what there will be. I think that since the Jesuits were very wise they kept books in there, but I don't know if they are preserved.” In addition, he said that they once went to the place from the National University of San Juan and made a small gap on the ceiling, but the light never entered the room. “ I don't want to die without knowing what is inside,” he once knew how to declare this man of burning heart and courage as a philosophy of life. From Ser Argentino we recognize and claim the story of this guardian of mysteries.
Argentina, nacida en Córdoba. Investigadora en el área de lingüística. En formación constante sobre las Letras y sobre la vida, gracias a la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Mis experiencias en viajes me llevaron a aprender cada vez más idiomas y querer conocer diversas culturas desde adentro. Pienso en la escritura como una herramienta para transformar el mundo y volverlo un espacio justo y equilibrado.