College mentor: Amanda Vu
This project is a compilation of short stories about the difficulties experienced by migrant workers and the importance of solidarity.
“The Frontera Brothers” by Adrian Tejeda Encarnacion
The name’s Jose. I come from Oaxaca, a city in Mexico. The people around there are very vivid, kind hearted, passionate about each other and the things they do. It’s to the point where I’ve had many fun memories with the people I love and cherish dearly but everyday, there’s always a complication with jobs. Majority of our jobs that we work in pay poorly, and we also work in un-sanitized environments which affects us the most as humans. Fortunately, I’ve heard the United States was a place to go to live the “American dream.” Although, I also heard it’s been a struggle going through the “Frontera” in other words, the wall. Many attempted climbing the wall and succeeded but as they kept on walking towards Texas, they got caught. From what I know, the majority of the mexican population migrated to Texas. There were other states connected to the “Frontera” such as New Mexico, Arizona and I believe California. When I returned back home, I thought about crossing the border to get to Texas since my friends and relatives are there.
Hopefully, I can have a chance to live the “American” dream to the fullest. My mother was concerned about my safety since I wanted to go by myself, but as long as I have my companions Angel, Jesus and the other Jose, there was nothing to worry about. But still my mom wasn’t convinced about me going with a few of my “buddies.” That’s where the conversation started to lead towards a hour or two hour long life lesson. I knew most of us youngsters hated those types of “life lessons” since most of us hear the same stuff over and over for the millionth time. Typically, I would move my head around, look at the ceiling, give her a nodding motion so she sees that I’m agreeing with her. I let her speak out some facts on which I can agree on, unironically. After a life long lesson later, I got in contact with the “muchachos” telling them “When are we leaving?” I got a reply back from Jesus saying “Everything is ready bro, Texas is the move”. A day after, I had my things ready to go, prepared, nothing to worry about getting caught or having none of my relatives talk me out of it. We met up and felt we were ready for what was awaiting us past that border. A new future and hope. Health and prosperity. Finally, a new life to look forward.
“The Sedulous Boy” by a Tenth Grade Honors English Student
I live with my immigrant parents. My parents migrated from El Salvador. I always notice how hard my parents work to provide me food and shelter. One day, I got up to get a glass of water and noticed that my parents were staring at a piece of paper with a worried expression on their faces. I decided to wait for them to go to bed so I can have a peek on the paper. When I grabbed the paper, I couldn’t believe what I just read. My parents had a huge bill to pay and they aren’t earning enough money from their jobs. Then I understood why they seemed worried. I wished that I could get a job and help them out with the bill. That’s when I remembered that an old woman was offering a job for those who could help her plant a huge garden. I’ve decided where I’ll be spending my time tomorrow.
I woke up at 8 o’clock in the morning and heard my parents talking while enjoying their breakfast. I joined them and told them I was going to help an old woman with her garden. They thought it was a great idea and told me that I could go right away. And that’s exactly what I did. I took my old bike and started heading to the old woman’s house. Once I arrived, she greeted me with a smile on her face and told me where I could leave my bike before starting. We went to the backyard with other volunteers and saw how huge it was. She explained where she would like her plants to be and how to place them. Everyone started to work hard and I was too. There were some flowers I really liked and wanted to take home for my parents. We took a few breaks and continued working until 1:30 p.m. She must be a very rich person because she gave each of us $100 and asked us if we could come back tomorrow as well. I accepted and said goodbye to her. I headed back home and took a nap, excited for tomorrow.
I headed to her house once again and we started working on her garden. Nothing much changed. We did the same things like yesterday. Each day we worked, we earned $100. I worked for 15 days and earned $1,500. I felt proud of myself because I can finally give this money and help my parents with the bill. I looked around for a little box and put the money inside. I grabbed my box and headed to the living room and told my parents that I’ve been earning money by helping the old woman with her huge garden. I gave them the little box and told them that it’s for them to pay the bill. They took the box and started to cry tears of happiness. They hugged me and thanked me for everything. I felt happy that they wouldn’t have to worry about the bill anymore.
“An Infinite Cycle” by Izack Portela
My name is Miguel, I’m a Immigrant worker that moved to the U.S. This is the first time moving out of my home, Knowing that I will leave everything behind. I’m not sure what awaits me on the other side, but I’m taking the risk, finally finding my future somewhere in the U.S. Now entering, I think to myself, ”What an odd place this is¨. But that doesn’t matter, all that matters is my distension. And I asked myself, will I be okay?
The alarm rings and I open my eyes. I can tell that today isn’t going to be a good day. As I pack up for work, I see many notes and letters about my rent and bills on my front porch. I *sighed* and just headed straight to work. I try to show up to work as early as possible, but it’s difficult since I always have to take different buses. I’d think I’ll just be yelled at for being “late.” What did he expect!? Getting a car is impossible right now. Coming out of the bus station, I have to run to work and immediately start a task, hoping to not be noticed by my boss.
As the day went by, I saw some customers entering and leaving, giving me weird facial expressions the moment they saw me. A customer came up to me and asked me ”Where are you from?” I didn’t answer. He asked again but in a more aggressive tone ”Where are you from!” I tried to speak to him. But he went on a rant saying that “I don’t belong in their country”. “That was scary,” I said. “You gotta be careful Miguel. People can be very harsh,” said one of my co-workers. I want to know why— why is it that I can’t fit in with the rest of the people. ”I don’t get why people can be mean to someone who doesn’t belong to this country.” I came to this place to find a new life to start a new beginning, but…. there’s nothing but trouble here. I barely make money! I have no one to help me at all. I’m all alone, and they expect me to do everything all in one day!
As the day turns to night, I get exhausted from all the work I’ve done. I walked all the way home to catch some rest, only to restart the whole cycle again and again. I make it home but the papers left on my porch never leave, they stack and stack, and I helplessly stare at them everyday hoping that one day they will all disappear. In time, I said. In time.
“My Partners and I went through so much (brainstorming) during this project. I can’t accept all the credit that went into my story, because we all thought of the endless possibilities that can change the view of how a person can think and feel. We each played a part in coming up with our stories, our ideas, our creative writing is what led up to this project. I thought of a story that can make people think ¨How hard is it to work as an immigrant worker?¨ In reality it’s hard knowing you´re coming to a place much more different than you’re used to. And I thought of a scenario (As a story) that can make people see how much the hispanic community really works hard just to make money at the end of the day. whether it’s for themselves or their families”– Izack Portela