It quickly became known as Camp Esperanza, meaning hope. At first, the makeshift tent city above the San Jose mine in Chile's Atacama desert was home to the relatives of the 33 men trapped 700 metres below. But as the weeks went by and the moment of liberation drew near, some 2,200 journalists from 600 different media outlets descended on the camp.


Angelica Alvarez, the partner of miner Edison Peña, said that the 17 days she went without hearing if he was alive were the worst of her life, but paid tribute to the spirit of togetherness at Camp Esperanza:



'In the beginning, we didn't know anything about what was going on or what was going to happen,' she explained. 'We didn't know if they were dead or alive.' 'But when someone broke down at the camp as we waited, there was always someone else there saying, "You cannot lose it. You cannot break down like this. You cannot think they are dead, because they are all alive."'
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