Change

Change
Turning Over New Leaf

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chile: Memories and Mixed Emotions


Chile: Memories and Mixed Emotions


I was troubled last month when I heard the news about the earthquake in Chile. So much media attention had focused on the previous disaster in Haiti, but from my perspective, very little on Chile. Everyone seemed to be fund raising for Haitians, but not one person or organization asked me for a donation to help the families in Chile when their turn arose.

 The tiny South American country is dear to my heart for many reasons, but primarily and ironically, because of a terrible experience I endured some twenty-five years ago. My wife and I arrived in Santiago, without luggage, for what was intended to be a one-day trip to the local courthouse to adopt a child, a long return flight home, and the happiness associated with welcoming an unfortunate soul into our family to begin a new life. We did not count on interference from cruel dictator, General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte. A failed assassination attempt on his life resulted in his infamous “state of siege,” during which many Chileans lost their freedom and lives. We were stuck in Chile in a dangerous atmosphere for over two months, and opted to search the Andes for the starving, Araucanian Indian girl we had hoped to adopt. The Chilean people were like angels. In the face of government terror, average citizens aided us in our time of need, with very little thanks.

With so many starving children in the world, our people cannot afford to overlook natural disasters in any nation. Earthquakes do not target governments and have no political motives. I wish my close friends south of the border a speedy recovery. We will never forget.

3 comments:

  1. How are the quake victims doing? I haven't heard much in the media.
    I knew a guy from Chile. His name was Earnst Schrandt. We're talking thirty years ago. I can remember being shocked to learn there was a large German community in Chile...

    ReplyDelete
  2. #167 Dad: They are still dealing with the quake. Since the Chilean infrastructure is better than that of Haiti, there were fewer human casualties, but the problem is widespread. You are also correct. There is a large German population. Many relocated from the old country just before the war ended.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey JJ I decided to have a look back at some of your earlier posts and the first one I chose was this one. It is poignant to me on multiple levels & cements even more my thoughts about you as an exceptional human being. My husband is Chilean, as you already know, and my inlaws have often shared their memories with me of this time in their lives, during Pinochet's dictatorship. This is also why they decided to flee Chile and migrate to Australia, to give their children a better, freer life.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.