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On the streets of Buenos Aires
On the streets of Buenos Aires
Silvina Darago

BURZACO - Carolina Ortega is 37 years old, a trained journalist, and she works as an advisor for Argentine Congressman Felipe Solá. She grew up in the city of Burzaco, just outside of Buenos Aires. When she was just 7, following her parents' acrimonious separation, her father left home, and the family never saw him again.

Now, with the help of Twitter, she is telling the next, jaw-dropping chapter of her personal story.

"I'm in an episode of Lost, Ill go out, breathe, and then tell you the story."

Estoy en un capítulo de Lost. Salgo, respiro, y les cuento.

— Carolina Ortega (@ComandoCarolita) April 17, 2013

"I look up again, I cannot believe it. It's been 30 years that we haven't seen each other. I read the Taxi ID card with his info that is hanging on the seat. It's him."

Lo vuelvo a mirar, no puedo creerlo.Hace 30 años q nos vimos x última vez.Leo el cartel con los datos q cuelga del asiento delantero. Es él.

— Carolina Ortega (@ComandoCarolita) April 17, 2013

"What are the chances that in Buenos Aires, on the day that I'm going crazy to help my mom, I stop a cab that is driven by my father, whom I haven't seen since I was 7 years old?"

¿Qué posibilidad hay de q en BA, en el día q salgo loca a ayudar a mamá,pare taxi y el q maneje sea mi viejo, al q no veo desde mis 7 años?

— Carolina Ortega (@ComandoCarolita) April 18, 2013

Let's rewind a moment. It was April 17th, when Carolina had to leave work in the middle of a heated session of congress: she had received news that her mom had been robbed, back in her home town of Burzaco.

“I left my office in a rush and noticed that I had no cash on me. I went to the ATM, but it wasn’t working -- one of them swallowed my card in a series of unfortunate events. Which is why I decided to not keep tempting destiny and hop into a taxi without knowing what fate had in store for me on the other side”, the journalist said.

When she got in the cab, she decided to go home and get money, and then take a bus to Burzaco. On her way home, the cabdriver, whom she hadn’t even looked at because she was in such a hurry, said: “I know where you’re headed.” And he made a reference to the rugby club near her childhood home. “If you want to, I can drive you there.”

A glance in the mirror

Carolina was so frazzled that she said yes, deciding it was better not to lose time waiting for a bus. They had been driving for a while, and all of a sudden Carolina noticed that they were already close. “Oh good, we are going fast,” she told the cabbie.

At that point, she quickly looked up to see what the driver looked like. "I looked at the rearview mirror and recognized him immediately," she recalled. "We have the same eyes, we look very much alike. I could not believe it. I had to double check, and then I noticed the taxi card with his information and I saw my father’s name."

Carolina’s first impulse was to get out of the cab. “I asked myself, how am I going to handle the situation when I get to my mom's place with her ex-husband, after 30 years. And then I though well, no, if destiny put us here together today, after all this time….”

At that point, a sudden sense of calm took over. Carolina remained silent, “letting everything flow naturally.” Neither she nor her father talked about the past or anything throughout the rest of the drive.

Upon arriving at her mother’s house, the same house he left 30 years ago, she told him “thanks for everything. I gave him the money and got out of the cab. When my mom came out the house he took off, and I thought to myself, it’s better this way.”

Then Carolina focused on helping her mom.

That night, she narrated her whole story on Twitter.

Here is a video of her interview with Clarín:

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

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