Written by Octavio Garcia-Ruiz, NFWM intern through Student Action with Farmworkers.
Sunday June 19th was the first day that we did outreach. Driving out on the country roads felt good, like I was back home. The camps that we went to were not too difficult to find. The reason why were out there is not too contreversial, if anything it should be accepted without any tension. We are planning on having ESOL classes, we want people to learn english to help give them tools that will give them more oppurtunities. Going out on outreach for the first time was a very sobering experience. Fortunately we did not encounter any conditions that were as severe as the ones in the book. The people we met and spoke with were very kind and open. They were willing to open up a little and speak about some of their experiences. One camp in particular, an older gentlemen, who was living by himself, spoke about his reason for coming to work here. It was a story like those of many people, the family needs money, so they sell their land, and then later come to the U.S. with hopes of doing better then they did back home. The people we spoke with all showed and expressed interest in English classes, the only factor they worried about was time. They work almost everyday depending on what the grower says. They work from morning to night, from 10-12 hours a day. Day in and Day out, year after year. They may be stuck in their position until they get to retirement age or get burned out and can’t do the work for any number of reasons. Talking with them, and hearing the amount of hours they work, and them not being able to see their families all the time really makes those that can really grateful. I know when i get back i will hug my whole family and share my experiences.