This weekend, after ten weeks trapped underground, 33 Chilean miners were finally brought back to the surface, and to the crushing destitution of being a Chilean miner.
“It was the longest vacation of my adult life,” said Victor Gómez, one of the freshly impoverished miners, “but I guess all good things must come to an end.”
The miners once again have to worry about affording food, which the government had provided in the wrecked mine. Other luxuries, like vitamins and contact with the outside world, will also be missed.
“They installed a fiber optic feed, so we could actually see our families in the daytime,” said Alfonso Juarez, who until then had never seen his youngest son awake.
Many of the miners claim that the collapsed shaft was more spacious than the tenement houses where they live with their dependent families.
“And we didn’t even have to pay rent,” added Juarez.
25 of the miners could not be reached for comment, as they were working eighteen-hour shifts to make up for the two months they had spent underground.
The San Esteban mining company released a statement this week, saying it was happy to provide the miners a respite from their nightmarish lives. Said CEO Alejandro Bohn, “The miners’ gratitude, along with a binding contract forbidding litigation, was reward enough.”