69-year-old Santiago Sanchez, from western El Salvador, has been spending his days digging away at a tunnel ever since God told him to do it, 18 years ago. A reporter recently entered the tunnel, but had to exit before reaching the end, due to respiratory problems, so no one really knows how long it really is.
Every morning, at around 3 a.m., Santiago Sanchez goes down a hole into the tunnel he has been digging for nearly two decades and spends the whole day carving away at the rough service. When the day is done, he exits with around 90 pounds of rock and debris. He has sworn to dedicate every waking hour of his life to the bizarre project and fulfill God’s command. The pensioner says that he received a message from the Lord, 18 years ago, telling him to start digging a hole. He took it to heart and hasn’t stopped since.
Photo: video screengrab
“What I am doing is a spiritual revelation from God,” Santiago told a local TV station. Despite having many critics who laugh at him and call him crazy, the man is determined to fulfill his mission, even though he admits he doesn’t understand its purpose. “Nobody knows what God is going to demand from you,” he added.
He compares his work to that of Noah, described in the Genesis, in that he also received a command from God and was laughed at by people who didn’t believe him and refused to help.
Photo: video screengrab
Univision journalist Ernesto Rivas recently went down into Sanchez’s tunnel to see how long it had become in 18 years, but by the time he got (what he assumes was) halfway, it had become so hard to breathe that he had to turn back. That didn’t surprise Santiago, who said: “Only I am allowed to go to the end, because I am God’s tunnel digger. Nobody else is allowed to go there.”
The mysterious hole has become known as the Tunnel of God, and people sometimes stop by to visit it. However, no one but Sanchez has reached its end, as he seems to be the only one untroubled by the low level of oxygen on the deeper levels.
So because no one but Santiago Sanchez has reached the end of the tunnel, nobody knows how long it really is. But after 18 years of constant digging, we can assume it’s pretty long. The digger himself says he’ll continue his work until he gets another message from God or until the end of his days. He claims the Lord has promised him a gift when he finally completes his task.
This epic undertaking reminds me of William Henry ‘Burro’ Schmidt, a.k.a. “the human mole”, an eccentric man who spent 32 years single-handedly digging a 2,087-foot tunnel through Copper Mountain, in the in the Mojave Desert’s El Paso range.
Source: El Salvador.com (Spanish)