It’s another beautiful Monday, I am sitting here in an Internet cafe and it’s actually running fast today….a little miracle! I hope you are all doing well and are recovering from all the Halloween festivities. I am doing SO great just like always, I am enjoying my time here in Potosi. We are witnessing SO many miracles here in our area. It’s incredible, there is no doubt this work is true. I love getting to be a little part of it! Alejandra is progressing well; she has a baptism date for the 12th of December and truly is converted. We just pray everyday that the adversary won’t influence the progress she is making. Also, this week we met some awesome less actives of almost 10 years, we are excited to start working with them and hopefully be able to rescue them.
Today, we went to the Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) Mines here in Potosi and let me just tell you it was a little sketchy. We put on mining clothing, helmets and entered the mine. We were all a little claustrophobic, but it was really cool. We were able to see a few men working. It is requested by the miners that upon entering the mines tourists bring gifts. But, all they want is alcohol, coca (stinkin coca that’s the hardest part about teaching here because the coca is against the word of wisdom and almost every Potosino chews coca) tobacco or soda. So, all 20 of us brought soda, I’m sure the miners weren’t too happy with us.:) So, here's a few things I learned while touring the mine. Potosi is a really anchent (I am forgetting this word in English at the moment, but in Spanish it is antiguo :)) village that has a lot of traditions and beliefs from when the Spaniards were here. The mine is what made Potosi prosperous at one time as silver was brought out in abundance. It is also where almost all the males, both young and old worked. Interestingly, inside the mines the workers worship the devil, or what is known as El Tio. There are hundreds of statues of El Tio, which is represented by a goat. The mine has a history of claiming the lives of many miners. It is said that 8 million miners have died in Cerro Rico and other Bolivian mines in the last 500 years. The belief is that if the miners offer sacrifices and gifts to El Tio it will satisfy his desire to claim more lives. So, they regularly kill llamas as a sacrifice to El Tio and smear the blood on the walls of the mine. They also offer the gifts of alcohol, coca and tobacco received from the tourists to El Tio as well.
The life of a miner in Potosi is actually really sad because they are forced to work for 16 hours at a time, talk about depression because it is pitch black. It is also said that the miners don't have a life expectancy above the age of 4o as they often develop black lung disease. The miners are also difficult to teach due to the beliefs within the mine. And, because our area is mostly campo, or the outskirts of the city, we have a lot of miners that live in our area. So, I’ve learned a lot about the different beliefs. It was an interesting experience, to say the least, to learn more about the culture and traditions of Potosi. Plus, we got to wear cool mining clothes and explore and climb in small spaces. I could NEVER work in a mine, especially here and especially with these beliefs.
Well, we are excited for another week. Can you believe it will be the last week of the transfer? Its crazy, but we are enjoying our time here and seeing the hand of the Lord in our labors. I love the mission, and I feel like I am doing exactly what the Lord needs us to be doing here in this area. I hope you all have a great week. Hope you are all getting excited for the holidays. We sure are, I am so excited to spend it with these sweet people. I love you all so much!
Love, Hermana Lomax
Read more about the mine, it's really interesting!
|Me and El Tio!|