I had been looking forward to visiting Immokalee since Lariza had offered for me to come with her. I completely fell in love with the people and the experience of sharing that with a great group of 8th graders from the Miami Country Day School.
We arrived around 10:30 am and started the day off by packing groceries that were donated to the Farm Workers Association of Florida. I assisted a bit, since this great group of kids had it practically under control with a great system, in which they made approximately 200 bags of groceries in about 2 hours (something that would have taken the staff of the office at least a week or so to do on their own).
Although some of the children thought that they hadn’t done much, those groceries were ready to be distributed in the following days, versus a week or so later.
Then we were served an AMAZING home cooked meal for lunch and we even had the opportunity to share that time with 2 farm workers that came into the office looking for help. The kids that knew Spanish sat with them and spoke with them throughout the lunch.
After lunch we headed over to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers where we received a presentation and me and Lariza assisted in translating.
The kids and I also had the opportunity to actually lift and feel the weight of a bucket of tomatoes like the one used by farm workers on a typical workday!
We were then taken to see where many of the farm workers live. When I saw the conditions of the trailers my heart was completely torn. I saw the conditions of the trailers from the outside, and was informed that some of them don’t even have a electrical/gas stove or refrigerators. I saw many trailers with propane tanks that you can purchase at any local grocery store, only making this situation more real and personal to all of us.
Following the tour from the CIW we had a group discussion of what we saw and felt and I honestly have to say that I was completely moved by the sincerity and honestly of these kids. One in particular shared how “scary” the amount of power corporations are holding. They all suggested amazing ways to make a difference.
Following the Tour with the CIW, Adan Labra, the organizer for the Farm Worker Association of Florida gave us a presentation about the work of FWAF and the lives of the farm workers of Immokalee.
The wrap-up of the day was the party these kids hosted in which they collected new and used toys to take for the Immokalee children and gave out to the kids in the community.
So many children faces were lit up when they saw all the beautiful and generous toys that were given to them and these kids definitely seemed to enjoy playing with the kids.
Just when we were all enjoying our time it was time for everyone to say our goodbyes. Lariza, Adan and myself said our goodbyes and wished these kids a safe trip back home, and I personally expressed the need of the importance to be able to do some type of social justice internship in our college experiences. It was a great day!
Spring Intern ’11
(Photos courtesy of Lariza Garzon)