For some of us, the idea of being buried alive is a deep-set phobia. For 33 men in Chile, it’s a reality. They became trapped on Aug. 5th when an earthquake collapsed parts of the mine around them, trapping them in the chamber where they currently reside. Reports tell us that they are in good spirits and decent health. There is a 6” diameter shaft to the surface, through which food, water, medication, and other supplies are being transported. Drilling to rescue them started Aug. 30th, but is likely to take until Christmas – a “pilot hole” must be drilled first, with a thin ‘bit’, and then larger and larger bits used to widen the hole until they can safely bring the men out. It is estimated that they are more than a mile underground.
I cannot imagine what those miners are going through, and I cannot imagine what their family members are going through. On one hand, I can imagine that there is massive relief that the men are not only alive, but only suffered minor injuries. They remain in good spirits, sending heartfelt but optimistic messages to those on the surface. There is a medic below who has been able to use the supplies sent to him to vaccinate himself and the men against things like influenza, tetanus, and diphtheria. Supplies, such as hot food and clean clothes are being ferried through that long hole to them.
I’ve had very limited experience in “survival” situations. I grew up camping in primitive sites, where my parents took me on ‘forages’ for wild onion, dandelion, and other edible plants. I can catch, fillet and cook a fish. I know how and where to build a crude shelter if I ever needed one. I’ve been through emotionally taxing events in my life. But nothing – and I consider myself at least as prepared as the average person, and more than many – NOTHING in my life could ever prepare me for something like this. And I’m the person who gets on the airplane and immediately notices where the exits are, and starts mapping out what I’d do if something happens. I’ve always done that. Call it preparedness, paranoia or an active imagination, but it just happens.
So because my brain works that way, I started wondering… what would I want sent down to me, if I was in the position of those miners? Would I want technology? A pillow? Deodorant? They have the basic necessities – food, water, clean (if stale) air, medical supplies – but it’s estimated that they’re going to be stuck down there until Christmas!
What would you want sent down? What do you think the people at the surface should send down to the miners?
I do know that I’m sending them the only thing that I can… my hopes and prayers that every one of them – and those who are rescuing them – come out of this safe and sound.