September 1, 2010 by atgarcia · Comments Off
On today’s Daily Update find out about the career fair prep day and how the Career Center can help impress potential employers. Also, get a preview of tonight’s men’s soccer game and hear how single drivers can pay their way into the HOV lanes.
April 5, 2010 by blpowell · Comments Off
Posted by Colin Hogan
When I first heard about the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Chile over the weekend, I immediately began to think of my family. With the body count of 700 and rising and hundreds of thousands permanently displaced by the disaster, I could only pray that they were still safe and sound.
I am not from South America, however I did have the opportunity to spend a summer in the coastal town of Viña del Mar, where I lived as an exchange student in a Chilean family’s home. Over the course of the few months that I spent in the country, learning the language, meeting the people and adjusting to the culture, I developed a soft spot for the Chilean people.
Maria Loreto Silva Donoso, who always insisted on calling me “hijo,” or son, was the mother of the host family that I lived with. A widow after her husband succumbed to polio, she lives with her two teenage sons Felipe and Jorge.
I quickly became close with all of the family members in the household, save for the pet rooster that would wake me from my cold sleep each morning at the break of dawn. I would go to sleep each night wearing two pairs of sweatpants, three pairs of socks and a down coat to make up for the lack of indoor heating in the house. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I would wake to hear the two sons talking around the tiny fire stove that provided the only heat for the house. The moments when I joined them to get warm were when I felt the most at home.
Outside of my host family, I interacted with other Chileans on a daily basis.
The bus driver would slow down but never completely stop as I hopped on to make the 13-mile commute from my house to La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso where I attended classes. The driver would stop in the middle of the street and leave the engine running while he went to check out the latest snacks being offered by the sidewalk salesmen. The smell of a leaky exhaust constantly filled the inside of the bus.
These were among the many memories that resurfaced after hearing about the earthquake while spending the weekend at a club tennis tournament in Austin. I immediately navigated to Facebook on my phone and sent messages to everyone I knew in Chile asking if they were safe. My family was fine, but the house where I lived was severely damaged in the quake. The cost of making the necessary repairs will take years to pay off.
This family is only one of nearly two million others whose houses have been damaged or destroyed in the earthquake. Some sources are predicting that the cost of insured damages will total $8 billion by the time the final tally is made. But the reactions from both news reports and the people I have spoken with personally are mostly optimistic, as most people who made it through the disaster are simply grateful to still be alive.
Because of the magnitude of the earthquake, coastal towns across central Chile were affected including the town of Viña del Mar where I lived. The most widespread damage occurred farther south near the city of Concepción and the smaller fishing villages surrounding the city. My host mother, who is originally from Concepción, told me that her sister-in-law was injured when part of her roof collapsed on her, breaking several bones.
The main highway that travels the coast of the country has been heavily damaged and traveling from one city to another is nearly impossible in many places. It was the road that myself, along with five other students, traveled along to go hiking in the remote village of Pucón, which has now put tourist activities on a hold.
The situation in Chile is dire and urgent action is needed; yet the optimism and resilience of the people there make me proud to have once lived as a Chilean.