Once upon a town

Published: Monday 15 August 2005

Submerged Town Argentina

The Argentine town of Federacin used to stand about five kilometres south of where it does today. In 1979, a massive dam was built across the Uruguay River; Federacin was evacuated and rebuilt. New Federacin now sits on the shores of the giant reservoir that contains the submerged traces of its former self.

Observers have noted that people in the town were so traumatised by the move that over a decade of "mourning" was needed. During that time, few cultural activities took place.

Then about nine year ago, Aquel Mi Pueblo (That Was My Town) was first performed. Since then, the play has been performed up to four times per week by a theatre group called Tavajhu -- group of itinerant people in the local language. Aquel Mi Pueblo has resonated so strongly that many local people have seen the play dozens of times. The production has become the main motivator in keeping alive the memories of old Federacin, for young and old alike. When the high waters preclude exploration by foot, boats now offer tours of the old city. The visitors are given maps of signposts detailing the murky locations of landmarks from long ago.

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