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Some reflections and live blogging on the rescue of the Chilean miners…

[Update: It is 9:20pm EST. All 33 miners are out safe! Now, they are taking up the 6 rescuers who went down to help…]

[Update #2: My poem about the event is: here.]

Chile Miners are being rescued…

Kimberly writes:

Well, I was reticent to share my personal obsession with the rescue of the Chile Miners. Though, I decided I should make note on the blog of something that is capturing a lot of my time and energy – watching, waiting, hoping, and cheering on this rescue.

(I partly decided because my husband said that my favorite political blogger — Elizabeth Benjamin — posted at FaceBook about the rescue. Guess a lot of us are hooked!)

I am watching on CNN, where there is a constant, live feed. There are ten miners out already. And, now, Jorge Galleguillos is coming to the surface!!! Hugs, applause, relief…

Two brothers and a son are here to welcome him.

The capsule door is open. He stirs. He is coming  out…

Jorge Galleguillos, the eleventh of 33 miners, is freed from the collapsed mine.

Now…some stray thoughts…

Political meanderings

It has been fascinating to observe the mine rescue, and see all the many layers to the story. As a political junkie, there is even more to study.

I did not know who any of the characters were at first, I am not up on international politics, and I was trying to figure out who were the people in red jackets smiling and soothing people. I also thought it was interesting how one of the rescue team would approach the cluster of red jackets, hug all the men, and give the woman a kiss on the cheek. I noticed that these manners match what often happens when my husband and I enter a room in politics.

Later I discovered that the woman is the First Lady of Chile, Cecilia Morel Montes. I have to say that she was a very warm presence on the scene of the rescue. I watched the first and second rescue last night, and Cecilia Montes was very helpful in the balance to stay out of the way, and stay in the way with hugs and words of encouragement as the miners’ families waited to greet them.

President Sebastian Pinera has done a lot to stay visible, and keep the message positive and encouraging. It is a credit that this whole rescue operation has been done with such care and patience. Today. After a long evening, I am guessing that President Pinera had taken a much needed rest. This morning, he is on the scene again, this time accompanied by Bolivian President Evo Morales. After the rescue, I am going to study up on the politics of these two men, who I believe are on different sides of the political spectrum.

But, for these few days of rescue…we are all just for the miners.

What I have learned about mining:

Because it is scary and isolating to be underground, sharing your voice and your humanity at every turn is of great importance. It is amazing to see a group of men huddled around a hole, calling out to what appears to be a cold ground, though calling out a man’s name, asserting his humanity, checking on his spirit.

I also have learned some tools of the trade. What duct tape is to regular engineering, the foot is to mine engineering. There were so many times during this operation that workers used their boot in graceful, and sometimes ungraceful ways, to guide things along. I figured out part of the purpose. For instance, when the capsule has trouble going down the hole, and needs a slight push, if you put your hands there, your fingers might get crushed. But, if you give it a nudge with your boot, you have the direct control of your body guiding the way, but your foot in your big old boots are less likely to get crushed.

Sometimes, it was awkward as a viewer to see the foot method. We would see the capsule, and being clinging to the idea that inside was a fragile, hopeful human being. We would see the wife waiting in the arms of the President, everyone showing care and concern. And, then, a worker would kick a rope into place. At first, it was a disturbing incongruity to me, until I realized the importance of the “foot as tool” principle in mine engineering.

A princess…

I have been reading English literature and history and doing a personal study of “What makes a princess?” Some of what makes a princess in real life is bad – being part of a regime. Though, part of being a princess includes the beautiful side of aesthetics and humanity.

Today, I saw a princess. When the 14 th Chilean miner, Victor Zamora, was brought to the surface, his was wife there to await him. The curls of her long, flowing hair glistened like black crystals in the desert sun. She was wearing a hard hat, a required part of a vigil in somewhat dangerous territory. And, when Victor emerged into the sunlight to see his adoring wife, he reached out to hug her.  In the exuberance of their embrace, her hard hat fell to the floor like a crown.

It was also very royal of Ms. Zamora to allow her son to be brought to her husband first. When a person first comes up from the mine, the medics must check him carefully, make sure he has his footing, and remove or adjust any gear and medical monitors. While Victor waited in the rescue capsule for this to happen, his wife waited with compassion and grace, a few feet away, as a rescue worker brought Victor’s son to him for the first hug.

More politics: Lula

A few moments ago, first Evo Morales, and then President Pinera, accepted a call from Luis Silva, President of Brazil. Of interest was that Evo Morales was on the phone first. And, then, he passed the phone to Pinera, who made an eloquent speech, and referred to Silva by the friendly nickname of “Lula”. President Pinera said he would see Lula in November.

Now, at 10:56 EST, I hear on CNN that they are accepting a call from the President of Argentina. Unity and congratulations and lots of good diplomacy appear to be happening!

[INSERT – at 11:05am, a friendly call from Hugo Chavez to the President of Chile.]

The 15th miner:

The 15th miner — Victor Segovia — is being brought to the surface. While another already rescued miner is shown on CNN hugging his relatives in a special waiting room. I have an appointment to go to…so I will have to stop blogging for a few hours…

Okay…Victor Segovia is safely at the surface…

Related post: Last guy out, don’t forget to turn the light out!

4 Responses

  1. […] October 13, 2010 by kwilder My morning live-blogs about princesses, boots and politics is at onthewilderside: here. […]

  2. The successful rescue of the Chilean miners is a heroic achievement of human ingenuity, perseverance and solidarity. Not to be too much of a downer though, but I’m wondering why wasn’t the same impressive ingenuity was used to protect the miners safety in the first place?
    http://sherrytalksback.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/bringing-a-turd-to-the-picnic/

    • Thank you, Matzpen for your comments. I clicked over to your blog and read a bit of your article.

      I think you are correct, that mining safety should have been a factor before.

      I feel like the world was giving the Chilean government “a pass”, and the men some space to get energized, grateful and hopeful about rescue.

      So, I think now is the time to really consider mine safety and the kinds of things you are saying. I hope my poem hinted that I want the world to pay attention to miners, so that there ordeal can bring change.

      Thanks,
      Kimberly

      • I watched Edison Pena on David Letterman last night and I am in love!!! What an awesome, peaceful, loving person – so full of life and positive energy, and inspiration I hope, to many, many souls. He will be running in the NYC marathon and I am definitely going to watch!!! I hope that this will bring some needed attention to the plight of miners, as you were hoping would be the outcome. More than that, I hope this begins a trend of sensationalizing what’s GOOD about humanity on the news, instead of dragging society down with the the legendary “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality of the press and media. It is far past due that the press and the media start taking responsibility for their affect on humanity and make a conscious decision to begin influencing our world with all that is good, peaceful and prosperous about it. Tap into the inherent goodness and generosity of people and conditions for EVERYONE will begin to get better simply because we believe it is the RIGHT THING TO DO!

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