This month Chile celebrates 200 years of independence . Chileans are rallying all over the country and celebrating this historic occasion. As Chile celebrates, it has much to be thankful for. 2010 has been a year of troubles, excitement, and unity for Chile.
The earthquake of February 27 took hundreds of lives away, destoryed homes and infrasture, and disrupted the lives of many Chileans. It was astonishing to arrive to Chile after one of the most powerful earthquakes in the world and see the country taking rapid action to recover. I arrived and the airport was heavily damaged, today the airport is in its original condition. I arrived and thousands of volunteers had already taken action, I joined their efforts and built temporary homes. I arrived and Santiago had already recovered: life was normal and continued as normal even with the continuing tremors. Even as the change of power occurred a tremor momentarily disturbed the program, but the change of power continued and the first conservative President, Sebastian Pinera, since the end of the Pinochet regime.
The FIFA world cup rose spirits for Chileans their national soccer team competed to be world champions. Chileans celebrated, cheered, cried, and made their passion for soccer well known to this foreigner. What a difference a soccer game can make in the mood of the people, it was noticeable in so many Chileans (even as some continued to cope with the traumatizing earthquake in February). Although they were finally eliminated from the games, by Brazil, Chileans exclaimed their pride for having played so well in the 2010 world cup.
More recently, the trapped miners in Copiapó. The story has spread throughout the world:33 miners trapped. So many Chileans had thought that they had all passed away. Such a horrendous accident, yet the miners managed to survive. When news was made public about the 33 miners, Chileans across the country celebrated. I walked into to my apartment building and the receptionsit yelled “Estan vivos los 33, gracias a Dios!” (the 33 are alive, thank God). At first, I had no idea of what she was talking about. I was just shocked that she was yelling this out loud to me. Then, I understood that she was talking about the miners. Immediately, after the news was released Chile began to celebrate. Cars drove up and down Almeda (the main street in Santiago) honking their horns. People pulled out their Chilean flags and took to the streets. It was a feeling of compassion, of pride, of unity. It was beautiful.
At la Moneda, the “White House” for Chile, Chileans are demonstrating their enginuity and ability to entertain. They are show casting a fantastic light show that moved me and astonished me. It was a wonderful ending to a great day of companionship with friends.
A Commercial for the event:
The end of the light show:
As Chile celebrates its 200 years of independence, the people of Chile have much to be thankful for in what is sure to be a year full of significant events. Chileans are attending Fondas (festivals), cultural events, spending time with family, and having asados (BBQs). Chile has much to look forward to: a brighter future, prosperity, but what is most important is that they keep their sense of community and help one another move forward.