Friday, March 16, 2007

Another Trip to Siglo XX / Llallagua

Just spent another week in Siglo XX / Llallagua. In spite of everything going wrong while I was trying to leave -- I had lent my lights to a cameraman with a drinking problem -- this was a really productive trip. We got some very good footage of the working conditions of the cooperative miners. I think the folks I know in Nevada will be surprised to see men working in conditions more primative than what is celebrated at events like the mining championships.

We followed a miner named Jorge through a days work, from his house in the weak light of the early morning, in a trufi (a land rover packed with miners, and four hanging off the back), "picchando" coca and talking politics with his workmates, and working the vein with a hammer and steel bit. I think the footage we got will get the sense of how primitive, brutal and difficult this work really is.

Actually, the vein we filmed isn't the vein that Jorge normally works, but for the sake of safety and in order to have enough room to work and film at the same time, he volunteered to work on a smaller vein nearby. Even so, he said he got four or five pounds of tin, which is worth ten to twelve dollars once he has it ground and concentrated. Not a lot of money.

This is the footage I need to have in order show it next to the footage of the Nevada State Mining Championships, in the end of May. Now all I have to do is raise three thousand dollars by the end of May to be able to go film that.


laguayaba said...

Greatly enjoyed the first two chapters. But confused on the peaceful protest that involved throwing dynamite :) Saludos from Mt. Pleasant.

LuckFactor said...

You've been to Bolivia. You know that all sorts of things, like "road," "peaceful" or "safe" are relative terms