Sep 29 2010

Chilean staff report on trapped miners

Since the collapse of Chileís San JosÈ mine that trapped 33 miners, many in the CFCA community have been keeping the miners and their families in our prayers. No sponsored members were directly affected; however, one father of a sponsored member was scheduled to work in the mine on the day that it collapsed.

A recent Yahoo news report said that the rescue efforts have made some outstanding progress.

Luis Olivares, who works for CFCA in Chile, sent this report.

“Many thanks for your concern about what is happening to our 33 countrymen who are trapped 700 meters (0.43 miles) deep in the ground. This occurrence has all of us dismayed since our country is like a big family, even though there have always been social and political differences.

“All of us Chileans are praying for the miners every day, that they may have the strength and the courage to survive, that they may not be daunted by the difficulties or setbacks during the process of their rescue.

“There are no fathers of sponsored children trapped in the mine. There was a father of one of the sponsored members who worked in that mine, but on that day he decided to change his schedule at the request of a friend. Therefore, he was saved from being trapped in the mine. This father said how terribly at fault he felt because of this.

“Some fathers of sponsored members work in other mines, especially in other small mining companies without any security at all, with lit dynamite in hand and running, with shovels and picks in subhuman conditions. Those parents only work sporadically at this job since most of them are looking for other alternatives to making money. At present the price of copper is good and the companies are using contract workers because the price of copper makes it convenient. This will change when the price of copper goes down and these workers turn to agriculture or construction.

“…I must add that the miner is a tough person, accustomed to the roughness of the job, a man who can survive in extreme conditions, accustomed to the solitude of the desert and to living in permanent risky conditions. They are very proud of this.

“For example, years ago many coal miners in the south of Chile refused to reconvert to labor as construction workers because, in their estimation, being in construction was a job for ‘delicate young ladies.’

“We pray daily that the miners may not become depressed and that they may keep up the fight. May God help them.

“Yours,

Luis Olivares”

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