The promise that the volcano does not knock down

The Gran Canarian palms



A loud shaking, a cracking sound, and a question echoing from mouth to mouth, “Where has it been?” The first seconds after the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on September 19 at 3:12 p.m. were shrouded in confusion and chaos, with all eyes fixed on the great column of ash that opened in the mountain «a few meters from the Monument to the Virgin of Fatima », in Cabeza La Vaca, as said then.

Before knowing for sure the exact point where the earth was opened, the reference was this monument, a pulpit built on the badlands of the San Juan volcano in 1949, the result of a promise and that, despite being there for more than 45 days a few meters from the volcano, there is no lava to knock it down.

The parish priest of that time, Father Blas Santos Pérez and the residents of Las Manchas, frightened by the fury of the San Juan volcano, asked for help from the Virgin of Fatima so that the lava did not reach the Hermitage of San Nicolás or cross the most populated area. So it was. The pouring was diverted at a specific point and for no reason, and right there, in 1951, the works of the Monument began, which after a pause of a few years was finally inaugurated in 1960.

On the lava flows of the volcano and at the point where the lava drifted, “in the place where there was a single pine next to the lava”, according to the chronicles of the time, the monument that houses a carved Virgin of Fatima was erected in white granite two meters high that guards the Aridane Valley. In Las Manchas everyone knows about her, the Virgin who resisted the volcano, and that is why when the land exploded in Cabeza La Vaca the neighbors entrusted themselves to her.

Intact in the face of ash and earthquakes

Surrounded by meters of ash, it remains immovable contemplating an Aridane Valley that does not resemble the one of that September 19, but that has not been able to with this promise of the town to its virgin, which remains intact in the face of lava, ash and earthquakes. The I Love the World photographers attested to this a few days ago, when they entered this evacuated area and were able to verify that it is still standing. By posting the photo, dozens of comments responded. “Continue to protect La Palma as you leave it,” says a user living in the area, to which are added messages of support for the palm trees who see in this figure a symbol of resilience in the face of adversity.

La Palma firefighters have also accessed the area to clean the roofs, and they wanted to fulfill yet another promise: that of a neighbor from Las Manchas who asked them to leave a flower for Fatima to stop the eruption. A firefighter placed a bottle of water with an anthurium flower (symbol of resistance) at the feet of the Virgin, to fulfill the prayer of the neighbor and all of La Palma.

The firefighter of La Palma, German Perez, narrated this “anecdotal fact” thanked the people of La Palma. “A lady asked her colleagues from ‘Parque Laguna’, who were cleaning roofs in the Las Manchas area, to please bring the Virgin of Fátima a flower that she gave them, since she was in the exclusion zone and He was not allowed to enter, ‘and they did.

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