Jessica Expósito was clear, since Cumbre Vieja's original laundry gobbled up her oil and vinegar shop in Todoque, that she would rebuild it wherever it went. Yesterday, three months after the volcano changed her life, 'Tu Tienda de Todoque' reopened near the town of Los Llanos, and it did so accompanied by dozens of its loyal customers, who did not miss the appointment and filled the atmosphere with emotion In the establishment.
It will be very difficult for normality to come to the west of La Palma after three months of Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption, but some rays of sun begin to glimpse at the end of the winding path that has been this volcanic emergency. Yesterday, after 93 days since it closed on Saturday, September 18, reopened Your Todoque Store, a traditional oil and vinegar establishment that was standing in that neighborhood now destroyed by lava flows for much more than a century. To its new location, in the town of Triana, near the center of Los Llanos de Aridane, they approached the reopening crowd of people, most of them loyal customers of the former local, which filled the atmosphere with the joy of the reunions that had not occurred in all this time.
Jessica Exposito, owner of the store for just over a year, was clear from the start. As soon as he learned that the lava had engulfed his establishment, and far from collapsing, he set to work to find a place where he could reopen it. It took him almost three months to get it, but yesterday that eagerness found its result. And she did it loaded with emotion, and accompanied by many of the residents of Everything, who did not want to miss this moment in which a little piece of the neighborhood is back. "Now we have to rebuild it so you can go back to where you were," said one of them, to which Jessica replied that, if so, "I would go with my eyes closed without hesitation."
Jessica was all joy received each client with their name and a big smile. Some of them let a tear escape. And is that the new Your Todoque Store It has the same furniture and the same quality as the one that was lost by the volcano. And the personality of its owner, who tenaciously returned it from the ashes. For many of these people it is a reunion with that neighborhood that was buried by lava, but whose spirit is still very present in their minds. Yesterday, the owner was still not there, she looked at the floor and it was difficult to see that the new tiles had nothing to do with the centennial ones that the previous establishment had.
Some of his clients this first morning were Pedro and Carmen, a couple who have their home in El Remo, a town that is in the exclusion zone. The husband learned about the reopening of the store thanks to a post on Facebook that Jessica herself made and that she has had a great journey, and he wanted to be there the first day, remembering how many times, on his way home from Los Llanos, I stopped to buy what I needed. "It is so as not to lose the habit"he joked. His wife, for her part, also commented that many workers who went to Fuencaliente bought their sandwiches for mid-morning at this establishment.
And it is that the sandwiches freshly made from Your Todoque Store They are quite well known, like the special cut that Jessica Exposito makes. "When I got hold of the store, the sandwiches already existed, but I decided to incorporate a coffee maker, and it was very successful," said the woman after dispatching several of those drinks to an Todoquera family who also accompanied her on this first day of reopening. They lived above the little store, and they knew it from being there, unperturbed, for as long as they could remember. As another of the inhabitants of that neighborhood entered, now buried by lava, a lively conversation was formed about the possibility to rebuild it from scratch, once it is safe to move around that bad country terrain again. An illusion shared by all those present, with much more faith than certainty that it can finally be achieved.
The famous sandwiches of 'Tu Tienda de Todoque' and the cut are two attractions of the establishment
The new establishment is located in number 38 of the Puerto Naos highway, right at the entrance to the town of Los Llanos de Aridane from the LP-213 at the height of the Triana neighborhood. There, Jessica located a garage that she has had to convert into a store, acquiring fire extinguishers, installing a bathroom, laying a floor, and ultimately, adapting it to the needs of this establishment. "It has been a lot of sacrifice and expenses that I had to put out of my pocket, but the owner was very good to me and forgave me the monthly payments for October and November," the woman thanked. Now that he has returned to his activity, even in another part of the island, he maintains the premise that was set when he bought the old store in the summer of 2020: «I am going to live on this, not for this, I have children and not I'm going to miss being with them.
After "a hundred and a few years open", the small oil and vinegar store in Todoque, the one remembered by the oldest of the place, has faced a very complicated situation, as it has never done before. In this transition it has always been driven by the eagerness and fighting spirit of its owner, who never lowered her arms or stopped rowing, and on that first day of a new stage, by the love and recognition of her loyal clientele. The emotion that was experienced yesterday in this small converted garage was as real as the pain caused by the Cumbre Vieja volcano in its wake. After sadness, some happiness breaks through again.