Pichilemu, Chile // February 2011
Iloca is a small fishing village on the coast of Chile. Sitting right on the main highway it thrives on any tourists driving past, mainly over the weekends and busy summers. Western faces are rare, but well accepted, and most certainly sought after for a purchase - always in a polite way though, nothing pushy here. I was fascinated watching the many, many men and women working the boats, bringing in the fish and selling them as fresh as could possibly be. Despite the hard labour involved, spirits always seemed up and there were plenty of smiles going around. It was devastating to drive the coast and see a huge percentage of the houses either destroyed or condemned after the 8.8 earthquake hit here and the ensuing tsunami swept much away. Thankfully Iloca wasn't affected too badly, but seeing the surrounding villages almost completely decimated broke my heart, and I was just some foreign face passing through.
The time we spent there was almost exactly one year on from the major earthquake that hit, though during the trip, a couple days after these photos were taken, a 7.0 earthquake hit and sent us scurrying for the hills. Witnessing life continuing, with a seeming deeper sense of community and the rebuilding process well underway, gives me hope in spite of such massive tragedies that seem to be a monthly, if not weekly, occurrence. Due to the diligence of the people with strict building codes, and the quake hitting in the dead of night, Chile was spared the huge loss of life other such recent events have suffered.
It was a blessing to spend time with the Chilean people. I hope I can make it back before too long, and pray no more tragedy strikes soon.