Sepulveda documents hopes of families of trapped Chilean miners

10/12/2010 - By: Staff Report

While teams of experts have worked around the clock to rescue 33 miners trapped 2,258 feet below ground in Chile as the world has watched both hopefully and expectantly, a University of Nevada, Reno professor has been there documenting the trying time for the miners and their families.

Emma Sepulveda, professor of foreign languages and literatures, internationally renowned writer and director of the University’s Latino Research Center, has been on site in the Atacama Desert at the mine site located in San Jose in northern Chile. The site has been the headquarters of a “tent city” of families and friends of the 32 Chilean miners and one Bolivian miner who have been buried alive for more than two months. As of late Tuesday, Oct. 12, rescue efforts were expected to extract the miners at any time.

Sepulveda has been interviewing the women in the camp for a book she is writing about the collapse of the mine and the impact of the accident on the families of the 33 miners. Her research has sparked interest in the international press in countries such as Belgium, France, Spain, Chile as well as in the United States.

“This is the most difficult project I have taken on,” Sepulveda said. “These women have spent their entire lives around mining accidents and have survived horrible tragedies. It has been an incredible experience to be with them day after day in the middle of the Chilean desert, so close to the place where the 33 are trapped, and to see the strength and solidarity that everyone has demonstrated in the past two months.”

Sepulveda’s story, based on the events before and after the mine collapse, which occurred on Aug. 5, will include women’s testimonies and chapters on their role in the mining camps and towns of the Atacama Desert and the tent city they created. It will also tell the story of the collapse of the mine, two months of life deep underground, and hopefully, Sepulveda added, the ultimate successful and safe rescue of the 33 miners.


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