Monday, April 12, 2010

Building a Stronger Chile!


I am sitting here on this beautiful sunny fall afternoon, anxiously waiting for the Chilean National Rodeo competition to come on TV at 5:30, and thinking about the short time I have left here in Los Alamos. It is hard to imagine that in about 1 month I will be leaving this wonderful country and these incredible people. Since day one last July, I have been impressed with the people of Chile, but it wasn’t until a devastating natural disaster hit that I gained a whole new respect for these Chileans that I have come to call my own.

Fuerza Chile Fuerza!

After 8 days the water began to return sporadically. After 12 days, I was just starting to get used to eating dinner and listening to the evening news on the radio to candle light, when the electricity finally came back. It has now been over 43 days since the earthquake hit, and there are still thousands of people that are still without water and electricity, and many still living in tents. With all of the adversity facing this devastated country, they have truly proven and shown their true character. With their faces against the wind, Chile turned head on and was ready to rebuild a stronger Chile.

In less than a day the moral and physical reconstruction was underway. It is as if the earthquake has created a more unified Chile, that I didn’t expect to see come from such an event. Chilean flags are flying everywhere, neighbors are helping neighbors, friends helping strangers, and students are filling buses and going to near by cities to help clean up. People are painting “Fuerza Chile!” and “Chile Ayuda Chile!” on their cars and trucks to show support. All are working as one to help rebuild this beautiful country. In the days following the earthquake, I made countless visits to the municipal building to offer my assistance, but more times than not, I was told; “Thank you, but we are actually overloaded with volunteers”. For every person still living in a tent, or without water or electricity, there are 3 or 4 people working to help them solve that problem.

With the cold and rainy winter creeping closer and closer, the biggest problem facing Chile is providing the thousands of people without homes, a safe and warm place to live. Between the national government, local governments, and a NGO named “Un Techo Para Chile” (A Roof for Chile), suitable temporary housing complexes called “Mediaguas” are being provided and constructed.

Although it has often been horrifying to see the destruction left by the earthquake on the news, it has been quite uplifting to see everyone’s positive attitude and “we can do this” spirit.

Back to School, Back to School…

Although Im sure the kids enjoyed having a little bit of an extended summer vacation, it is good to see how excited they have all been to get back to school and be with their friends. With my shortened time left at the high school, I have changed my schedule and will only be working with the incoming freshman students. We have now been back in school for 2 weeks, but there are many schools around the region that have not begun due to damaged school buildings and classrooms. With a little hope, and a few extra hard prayers, all the students in Chile will be back to school in some way or another by the end of April.

Since the earthquake, I have enjoyed spending time with the family around the house, cooking with Tia Iris, chopping wood for Tio Lucho, and preparing for the Minneapolis Half-Marathon in early June, which I will be running with one of my best buddies Brent Hagerty. I have also made a few excursions with the family to pick peaches and apples to make some delicious apple cider called Chicha. The perfect fall weather drink!

It is amazing to think that my time here has almost come to an end! With only 5 weeks left in Chile, I am doing everything I can to soak up every last bit!

5 comments:

  1. another great blog post. great to see all the unity coming out of such a disaster. chile continues to fascinate me...

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  2. 人必須心懷希望,才會活的快樂,日子才過得充實,有意義,有朝氣,有信心。........................................

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