Thursday, March 18, 2010
Shortly after our last blog, Chile experienced the most devastating earthquakes ("terremoto") in its history. Two of our North Valley Public Library (NVPL) SLO group, Erika and Alfonso Schumann, are Chilean natives. The family of Alfonso (his nephew or "sobrino") was affected in so many horrible ways, that their lives will never be the same. As they fled their home during the first tremors, the walls crumbled around them, crushing the nephew, his wife and 10 year old son. The nephew somehow managed to carry his wife outside; we don't know how the son escaped. The young wife was killed by the collapse of the house. The nephew and his son had broken bones, including compound fractures, and were impaled by debris. The nephew had to leave his wife while he desperately sought emergency transportation for his son to go to a hospital. Imagine the trauma to this boy who watched his mother crushed by the falling house, screaming in pain, then dying. By some herculean effort, the nephew managed to secure a ride in the back of a crowded truck bed, carrying his son, having several broken bones in his feet himself. When they finally arrived at the location of the hospital, they found the building had also collapsed. Imagine the pain and anxiety of having broken bones, a huge piece of wood sticking out of your son from his back through his shoulder exiting his chest AND the boy having a compound fracture of his leg, broken bone exposed, through open wound. Alfonso and Erika and their two daughters wired money from Montana to Chile to pay for an ambulance for transportation to the closest working hospital. The nephew was relentless in his pursuit of a coffin for his wife and was successful in bringing her to a final resting place on family land. I am writing this very early in the morning, waking up with these images on my mind, after hearing the details last night at our SLO conversation group. The horror of this situation for this family and so many others haunts me. I just can't stop thinking of the emotional and physical trauma to that young boy and his father. Our discussion last night led to brainstorming of ideas to help these people. Our hearts are heavy with sadness but we are determined to express our care to somehow help in some way.
It suddenly occurs to me that I don't even know their names, but, then... does it really matter?
I will report further details as I learn more. Amy