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AWAY TOO LONG

DavesChile has been too silent, for too long. But there are reasons, like buying and moving into a new home and taking on a new job with the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs. But, the move is over, and the new job is only part time.

Chile had begun to recover from the devastating earthquake in February (see previous postings), only to find that as a result of an explosion 33 miners are trapped alive far below the surface in a copper mine near Copiapo in northern Chile. The international press is of course flocking to the San Jose mine, to be there when these 33 miners are rescued hopefully during October, after what can only be described as a magnificent rescue effort. The press and many in Chile appear to be much more concerned now about these 33 victims than the thousands of victims still trapped by poverty and destruction in the south central part of Chile affected by the earthquake and Tsunami that occured earlier this year. For tourists and Chileans alike, Chile’s geography has always been an attraction, due to its natural beauty and diversity, but in 2010 the unfortunate aspects of her geography have attracted more attention.

In the midst of these tragedies, Chile elected a new President and celebrated its Bicentennial as a nation with a somewhat muted but typically optimistic Chilean four-day holiday around September 18. The celebration this year spawned a new very popular drink named “El Terremoto”, which of course we tried. This “Terremoto” will require a separate posting on this blog for itself.

We travelled to Chile during the month of September to repair the damage to our apartment in Santiago caused by the earthquake, and to join the Chileans in their Bicentennial celebration. I made a visit to coastal Maule that suffered so much back in February, to the towns of Cauquenes, Chanco, Pelluhue, Cunaripe, Constitucion, and most certainly the fishing village of Loanco. It is spring in Chile now, and the “aromos” are blazing with yellow flowers, the plum trees are brightening the roadsides and front yards of rural Chile, and it appears, although there is clearly much suffering and work to do in these areas, that life for these humble and hardworking people may be on the cusp of a long process of rebuilding a better future.

You will be hearing much more regularly now from DavesChile. We intend to discuss with you in future postings the earthquake reconstruction we observed, the Bicentennial celebration we participated in, and Chile’s economic and political progress and challenges we follow. In the meantime, there are two pieces of information I want you to know now: Dago and his wife Maria, owners of the seaside restaurant in Loanco that was totally destroyed by the Tsunami in February, have begun to rebuild their business. Yes, you guessed it; on the same site! Driven by a deep reservoir of optimism, and limited by a realistic weighing of their options, they again will be serving congrio frito, machas a la parmesana, and sopa de choritos by the end of October of this year. And, much to my surprise and delight, “The Last Pisco Sour” Bar in the Santiago Airport departure lounge has been reopened, so visitors departing that lovely country can fly home soothed by that incomparable tranquilizer. Two clear signs that Chile can and will recover.

So, life goes on in Chile. And so does DavesChile. Stay tuned.

Written in Leesburg, Virginia, on September 29, 2010.

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David Joslyn
David Joslyn, after a 45-year career in international development with USAID, Peace Corps, The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and private sector consulting firms, divides his time between his homes in Virginia and Chile. Since 2010, David has been writing about Chile and Chileans, often based upon his experience with the Peace Corps in Chile and his many travels throughout the country with family and friends.

6 thoughts on “AWAY TOO LONG”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I planned to celebrate Diez y Ocho with Jerry Dillehay and his wife Sonya in Mesa, Arizona but had to make a trip to Southern California for a week of “beach injection.” And I watch with anticipation as I read about the miners. Sadly, nothing about the progress since the earthquate and therefore very interested in your blog. Keep it up. Best to Ximena and you as you put yourself back together. Chuck Smith

  2. epita says:

    I am glad to see that your blog is back with a new posting. Congratulations on both: your new home and your new job!

    We are keeping our eyes on the miners’ rescue, too. We wish the best to the rescuers, the miners and their families. This must be really heartbreaking for everybody involved.

    Hopefully, something good is also being planned to help the victims of the devasting earthquake and tsunami. All this suffering exposes the resilience and strong spirit of the wonderful people of Chile! How creative they are in turning lemons into lemonade: The “Terremoto” drink must be awesome!

    Looking forward to the next posting,

    Epita

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve missed your postings, Dave, I’m glad you are back. It’s great to hear that despite all the suffering the earthquake brought to Chile, you have seen signs of recovery, a testament to Chileans’ hard work and perseverance. Blanca

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear David,
    The progress of Chileans in getting everything moving forward again is remarkable. There’s a lot of spirit and not a pervasive pessimism among those good people. I just realize we never contributed anything to the Red Cross or any other organization to their relief or rebuilding efforts.Would still like to this and will check with the Red Cross unless you have a suggestion.
    Take good care.
    Paul and Solveig

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hola Dave, está fantástico tu DavesChile, super bien redactado y descrito. El único alcance que te iba a hacer es que el trago “terremoto” existe hace muchísimos años, yo lo tomaba cuando era aún jovencita (hace su rato ya). En todo bar o boliche tipo picada lo servían, por ejemplo la Piojera. Además después del terremoto te tomabas la réplica.
    Una pregunta, el tema de los mapuches que estaban en huelga de hambre, no lo vas a tocar? un abrazo y felicitaciones amigo querido. Valentina

  6. Caco says:

    Uncle excellent summary!!!.

    I would like to see some pictures from celebration and you after a Terremoto. Was there any replica?

    About “Capsula del Bicentenario” What thing you had placed inside?

    Thank you for your visit.

    Regards,

    Caco

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