- Title: CHILE: 'Mayor' of Camp Hope packs up for home after miners' rescue
- Date: 15th October 2010
- Summary: VARIOUS OF SEGOVIA PREPARING COFFEE SEGOVIA GIVING GIFT OF LINGERIE TO WIFE OF MINER
- Embargoed: 30th October 2010 13:00
- Location: Chile
- Country: Chile
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVAEM38MAL9YO9O869R9SNXQPIXQ
- Story Text: Maria Segovia's strength and courage won her the hearts of those in Camp Hope, the cluster of tents where relatives of the 33 trapped miners bonded through agonizing uncertainty. She even won a title for herself; 'the mayor' of Camp Hope.
Segovia is the brother of Dario Segovia, the 20th man out of the mine who finally saw the light of day on Wednesday.
'The mayor', who has said she won't pursue a political career, surprised many with her leadership and strength, refusing to cry until her brother walked out of the rescue capsule.
However, she was emotional while packing up to leave the camp.
"I feel nostalgia and sorrow at the same time, because we are leaving a lot memories behind here. A lot happened. We went through terror, hell itself, but it's with great happiness that we return our children to where they belong," she said.
Segovia could be seen leading relatives up the hill to pay homage to the miners, chatting with police and engineers, or making coffee and cooking.
Her brother, a 48-year-old miner, was not supposed to be in the mine when it caved in on August 5, leaving the men trapped half a mile under the Atacama desert. He had picked up an overtime shift when the unfortunate accident started the saga.
But perhaps it was best for people on the surface, because it meant his sister would be there picking people's spirits up.
"I saw a lot people crying and I was there saying, 'Don't cry. Pick your head up. We're here fighting for people who are alive, not dead'. Little by little installed that attitude. In the end, we were all thinking the same way and now others say to me, 'You never lost hope'. One knows that if you put all out there for your family, everythingwell," she said.
On Wednesday, the Segovia family watched intently as they took Segovia out of the mine. With offers and invitations and certain celebrity, most of the workers are not expected to return to the mine.
But the Segovia family is an old mining family, and Maria said it may be difficult to keep her brother out of the mine.
"My father had an accident 40 years and was also trapped, but for just seven days. He lost an eye. Now he only has one eye, but he went back to the mine. It's difficult to tell a miner he can't go back to the mine because they fight and get angry and go back anyway. I don't know if my brother will go back. I would like it if he didn't but he might go back and we might see him working in spite of it," she said.
The final rescue operation, which took less than 24 hours after weeks spent digging an escape shaft hundreds of yards (meters) down to the miners, was viewed by hundreds of millions of people around the world and sparked celebrations throughout Chile.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera's approval rating surged to a new high in August for his efforts to rescue the men when they were first located alive 17 days after the mine caved in.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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