Imagine yourself in a space approximately 20 by 25 feet, mostly in the dark and covered with a low ceiling. The heat, more than 29 C or 85 F and the smell of sweat , dirt and the confines of limited personal space is where you might be spending the next 4 months of your life – that is, if you survive the upcoming attempt to free you. Oh yourself and 32 other individuals.
I’ve been strangely drawn to any and all news reports of the trapped miners in a small city of 150,000 people. Today they were told, much to their dismay that they might be in that small area for more than 4 months.
Yet, as the first camera made its way through a small pipe with bottles of water, food and messages from their loved ones, the miners grouped together and sang their national anthem, chanting “Viva Chile”. How does one’s mind manage such news after an incredible ordeal of days without really knowing if any will live the see the next day?
How does one, look around seeing less than inches between coworkers, find the strength to comprehend just how dangerous and difficult the next months will be? How does one continue on?
The family members of these miners have opted to camp 2300 feet above, and continue to send letters and notes below. What strength must they show in writing positive messages yet wondering if they would ever see their loved ones again?
I’m not sure why this story affects me in so many ways. Perhaps it is due to my recent extreme immersion in the Latin American life. Perhaps it is due to my strong phobia of confined spaces. Perhaps it is the empathy of wondering what I would do if one of my loved ones was in such a situation. Perhaps it is the tragedy itself.
This world of ours has been seemingly plagued with horrific disasters, one after the other. This week is the 5th anniversary of Katrina’s passage in Louisiana and its surroundings. We remember the great Tsunami, the earthquakes and recently the Afghanistan’s floods. There is no shortage of reasons to feel sad, anguished and wondering just what is going on.
Are we paying for treating our environment with such disregard? Could the Mayan prediction of the world ending in 2012 resonate with some potential truth? Whatever is going on, there are so many groups of people truly suffering day in, day out.
I sit in my air conditioned hotel room watching these events on a large high definition TV, eating good food and knowing that a few hours from now I will be snug in my clean sheets and safe room.
It was pure chance that I was born in Canada, a country void of insane violence, complete poverty and political tyranny of leaders slaying entire mass of souls in one single command. It was pure chance that I was raised without fearing being sold as a young girl or being tortured for speaking my mind. It was pure chance that I was able to be educated, to travel and to live in an incredibly abundant lifestyle.
As much as I am totally grateful each day for my wonderful life, I can’t help but think that it could be me holding on to my child running away from the flood waters, or seeking shelter from an uncle, brother or father wanting my life for speaking my mind, or wondering how I will survive the next 4 months with 32 other human beings…
I thank chance, karma, odds, a higher power, a mere moment in the universe that got me to where I am today… and somehow, my thoughts are with those 33 miners and hope that one day, they will see the same light I see each day.