Monday, November 2, 2009

A place for ghosts and terror

Today we took the truck up to the desolate mountain scape that runs along the Yesough creek. The road snaked for an hour along the cliff side as we climbed higher and higher into the scree. When finally the road dissolved, we resolved to go looking for the waterfall on foot. We were far away from everything and extremely isolated.

What we saw when got out of the car was a long stretch of shale and gravel that led to the foot of the highest peaks. The mountains had blue glaciers high up on their slopes like mouths full of broken teeth. There were barracks all around us of crumbling cinder block and metal rebar. Through the holes in the walls we could see graffiti scrawled in white paints- names followed by a a year in the 1970's.

"This is one of Pinochet's death camps," Said Lorenzo, one of the two Chilean brothers in the truck with us. He pointed to the craters in the earth that 25 years ago served as mass graved. Thousands of people were held here, he told us. Concentration camp. And then there were murdered. "Bad spirits here. Do not pick anything up, if you see a bone or something- do not pick it up. This is a bad place."

We poked around a little. We felt like little chickens in a huge pile of ash. There was one little building obviously set apart from the others; it still bore remnants of color on its walls and the metal fence around it was in tact. It was the church, and on its walls inside bore the last scratchings of Pinochet's victims. "This is the last time I will come to you," read one. "I'm leaving all my money here. Please. Por Favor."

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