The Hole

At the dawn of the third millennium, exactly in the Middle Ages, humanity took the most titanic challenge that the world had ever seen.

Having as spectators the cold stars, thousands and thousands of workers from every nation, swore before the world to accomplish the largest project that has ever seen the light on Earth, and began working in the desert.

Tens of hundreds of engineers, thousands of thousands of experts, surveyors, contractors, craftsmen, languages, a titanic use of personnel and equipment, all working without interruption or stops, at a frantic pace, and taking unspeakable risks. Without any compensation other than what is strictly necessary for daily survival!

Cyclopean excavators, tires of several meters in diameter, trucks, drills, human arms, picks, hand moved shovels next to huge mechanical shovels, all together to dig into the driest place in the world, devoid of attractive mineral, water or other resources, the largest hole ever made on the earth’s crust.

Ten times larger than the Ruhrgebiet, at least thirty times deeper, it was realized over twenty years of unremitting work against sand and rocks. The costs were enormous, several hundreds of people, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands proudly lost their lives. Toxic substances, job insecurity, inhuman rhythms, precarious conditions, an unforgiving climate, emissions, made the day by day a pure hell, but none gave in or let up, and the challenge was a success!

The day came when it was completed. Each of the participants had tears in his eyes. No one present will ever forget the moment when the last machine was finally turned off.

An eerie silence invaded the place, the whole valley. Deployed on the enormous ridge of the circular ring that pierced the ground, all in the front row, with their helmets in their hands, dirty, dusty, moved, or smiling, some of them happy, others taken by a deep swoon, no one spoke.

The night had just settled, the cold, after the unbearable heat of the day, began to enter into the bones, like every night for more than two decades; the breeze lifted a fine dark sand. Tears washed away the soot from some cheeks, there were those who coughed from a cancer, only noise. Suddenly the beams came from the powerful headlights, shining strongly and white as the wrath of a universal God. They lit up everything completely, the mammoth work in its entirety.

It was great! It was spectacular! Huge! You could see it from satellites, perhaps from the moon or even from other worlds! No one has never accomplished anything like “the hole”! Never! A round of excited and vibrant applause started spontaneously. Someone could not resist and jumped in, into the abyss, unable to bear the idea of having finished the project, and perhaps of remaining without it. Many died there and then, in a heartfelt and exalted farewell to friends and workmates.

Twenty years passed in shacks, elbow to elbow, with rationed meals, over sixteen hours of daily work in order to finish quickly and realize the most prestigious of enterprises: “The Hole”. Families were abandoned, and all convenience waived, no alcohol, no love, no entertainment, for over twenty years, twenty years! And all this was now over. Now the march would reverse, and there were those who could not tolerate it.

Rare are the images that portray the work, all in black and white, in the style of the Middle Ages. The next day, as by the project approved by the International League, the covering of everything began. A job that was estimated to be accomplished in less time: ten more years.

So finally, in a working life, thirty years, the place was back to being exactly as if nothing had ever happened, perfectly unchanged. Desert again, yellow and fiery, out of sight, remote.

No one would have ever suspected that there, the greatest engineering feats of human history had been accomplished. The most incredible work of the third millennium: the Hole!

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