by burked
Last updated 10 years ago

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August 5th – An ordinary day at work, I thought. I arrived at the entrance to the mine, packed my bags, dressed in my equipment and headed down the shaft for an eight-hour shift of mining for copper and gold. Although emmensly dark and full of warm and humid air, the work is back-breaking and thoughtless. It is my time to gather my thoughts and make dreams for my future. Work proceeds like usual until a very loud roaring noise fills my ears and my head seems like it might explode. Minutes stretch like weeks and I have to brace myself until the dust finally starts to settle. Shouting and cries for help surround me. I cannot reach anyone or anything but rock and dust. Sleep finds me. August 6th – I have rested for a short while and have discovered a few other miners who explain that we are trapped. How many of us? We do not know yet, only time will tell. Huddled together, we sleep again.

August 7th – Finally, I think we have found everyone who has survived the collapse. We are not sure what caused this event but we do know there is no way out. We are all thinking of a plan of escape but no one is truly hopeful and death is on all of our minds. A half mile is a long way to dig! Two days have passed; we know because our cell phones tell us. What must our families think?August 8th – No one has come and we are beginning to fear the worst. Mario, a man who has worked the mines for many decades insists that we begin to ration food. We each receive two spoonfuls of tuna, half a cookie, and half glass of milk every 48 hours. My long-time friend, Jose, complains of hunger and muscle cramps. I am simply tired and fall once again into a deep sleep.

August 9th – 15th – More days have passed and we have become a team. Mario explains that to escape the heat, we should dig futher down which will also provide more space for us to move around. We all begin to work in shifts and sleep finds us easily when our shifts are up. August 16th – At last, a little more room and cooler air. My mouth is so dry and I am so filthy. We begin to smell one another. This cannot last much longer, we think. Some men cry for their families while others are angry and shout doubts that anyone will ever come. We feel all is lost. Some say a few short prayers. Mario uses this opportunity to tell us stories about Jesus Christ.

August 17th – August 21st – Nothing has changed and hope is dwindling fast. Each man has lost as much as twenty pounds and some are becoming sick. Some men become irritable and angry; they need nicotine because their cigarette habit is not being fed. One miner has diabetes and without help for him it is only a matter of time. My thoughts are grim. Where will we bury him? What will we tell his family? Who is next to die? I place my hands in my head and like others I weep. Mining for copper and gold is all my family knows. Is that what will end my life; the work I have poured myself into for all these years? It seems like the ultimate betrayal.



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