Amid celebrations, Chile miners try to return to normal life

Thirty-two of the 33 miners spent the night at home yesterday after being allowed to leave the hospital where they were treated upon being lifted from the gold and copper mine on Wednesday.

One miner remained at the clinic for treatment of a dental problem, expected to be resolved by Tuesday. But even as joyous friends and family welcomed their beloved men back to the gritty mining town of Copiapo, the miners struggled to come to terms with the weight of their fame and the international attention they have drawn after their incredible ordeal.

"This isn't right," miner Victor Segovia said when he went home to find a crowd of camera-toting news crews waiting, according to an account in the newspaper La Tercera.
"We are nobodies. We are only simple people who survived," he was quoted as saying.
"What they are facing in the week to come is very difficult," said Health Minister Jaime Manalich.

Another miner, Jose Henriquez, who was credited with being the spiritual leader of the group, was drawn back to the mine yesterday for a nostalgic visit, his brother told a local radio station.

"He wanted to be here to feel it up close, after all that's happened, all that we lived through, to be in peace," said Gaston Henriquez. Miner Ariel Ticona meanwhile spent his first night at home with his newly expanded family, including a baby girl Esperanza -- "Hope" in Spanish -- who was born while he was underground.

"She's pretty, very pretty. She's beautiful, just lovely," he said of the little girl who has kept her father up all night. "It's okay, I've got a backlog of sleep," he said happily.
Ticona told AFP that the men survived in part by organising themselves into groups, each with a particular responsibility.

"I was one of the ones responsible for communication, for installing the fiber optic equipment and items that made it possible to hold videoconferences," he said.

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