We live in Antofagasta, Chile, the capital city of Chile's Mining industry and the main port for exportation of copper and sulfates/phosphates. It is desert here - the driest in the world; it's called the Atacama and is huge, encompassing most of northern Chile and extending all the way to the north of Peru. There is an elderly lady named Juana in our church here whose grandfather worked early in the 20th century in a small Mine some four hours from here. This was probably a sulfate or phosphate mine, and the mining was done by digging about a meter into the surface of the desert and extracting what they could of the abundant salts that you can still see in many places out in the desert. Almost none of these mines still operate, as the salts were mainly used in the production of gunpowder. But when Germany figured out how to make synthetic gunpowder in the late thirties, the market collapsed and the mines shut down.
The picture below was taken in 1917. You can read the caption on the left side of the picture "Banda de Of. Luisis 1917". "Of." stands for "Oficina" or office in English, which is what they called their mines back then. The young boy on the front left of the picture is Juana's dad. He is sad because his mother had recently died. Standing behind him is her grandfather. The picture fascinates me, especially the different kinds of instruments, some of which I can't figure out for sure.
I hope you enjoy seeing this bit of old musical culture from another country!
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