Saturday, March 27, 2010

Search & Rescue in Chile

I spent some time last night chatting on Facebook with my friend Antonio. He is a Carabinero in Santiago, Chile. The Carabineros are Chile's national police force. You forget in other countries, they may not have individual states like we do, thus their police force is one group throughout the country.

Anthony is with the 7th Squadron, the canine squadron. They use their dogs for Search and Rescue in disasters and right now, they are very busy still searching for victims of the earthquakes.

He told me he and his dog, a Belgian Malinois, work each day 9 to 5. They feed the dog, they search all day and they come back have dinner, rest and do it again the next day. He says they haven't found anyone for a while.

I asked him when he'd be going home, how long he was going to be stationed there. He said he was happy there working for his people. I told him that is exactly what I expected him to say. I asked him what I could do to support him, the other Carabineros and the people of Chile. He asked me what I meant. I don't know if it was the translation into Spanish or the concept or what but I was having trouble explaining what I meant.

I told him I was sending them all good thoughts and that they remind me of Texans - brave, kind and generous. (Our flags are very similar, too.) I told him that I liked the people of Chile from when I first arrived there and that I still do. He really liked that.

So, as we go about our weekdays full of work and our weekends full of rest, fun and errands, send the good people of Chile a good thought. And go visit someday. The country is beautiful and the people are wonderful.