Fires have been a constant topic of discussion in our conversation classes. I admit that I’d not been following Chilean news and had relied upon class to update me. Of course, since I’m not following the entire conversation, I had no idea how severe the problems were. There are large swaths of area south of Santiago on fire.
My professors are most incensed about the fact that the firefighters are all volunteers. They get no salary from the government, no equipment funded by the government. Instead they rely on donations and fund drives to keep themselves going, and the country protected. Literally, they remind me of the American firemen who stand at the stop lights with their boots to collect money from. So if you read the below articles and see that Chile has requested assistance from several countries, part of the reason it’s necessary is because the government hasn’t spent the money itself. Oh, and did I mention that only men are fire fighters here? That got me riled up more than anything else, but perhaps my priorities are skewed? 😉
I am in no danger, but how this might affect my future travel I do not know. Many of the most famous wineries are south of Santiago so this could severely negatively impact my winery tour plans! I’ll keep you posted.
And just to ensure we end this blog on a happy note, I’ve attached a picture of our local kitty. One of the teachers at the school lives two doors down, and she has this adorable cat. She is very cheeky – always getting into trouble, chasing anything that she can make move (including my sunglasses and a random wine cork). But she will also just let you pick her up pet her. She doesn’t care who loves her, as long as everyone pays attention to her!