Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Our Lady of Guadalupe
This is an e-mail message I received form my son several years ago. It was used as part of Advent reflections published by St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village, NYC, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Sorry I haven't kept in better touch but the green peppers need to be picked before the first frost when they all die!!
I'm living in a work camp just outside a town called Adrian in Oregon. Every morning fifteen of us get picked up at 6:30 by this big white truck, we sit in the back on the floor, and the white dude drives us to a town called Fruitland in Idaho. (Adrian is right on the border.) Then we just work all damn day until 4:30 when YES!! The day is finally over. Remember when we went to see that horrible movie "Groundhog Day?" Yup, that is what I think every morning when I struggle to get my self out of bed and then through out the day. After a couple of hours my back starts hurting, so after lunch (which is at 10:30) I go into multi-position picking mode ... where I'll mix just strait bending over with going down to one knee and picking from that stance to squatting like a catcher in baseball. The good news is that I've been getting more and more time driving the tractor in the last couple of days as other things have come up and the white dudes need to drive the onion trucks or what not. Yesterday I drove the loader for the first time. It is a big tonka truck looking yellow fork lift. Pretty cool to be driving that thing. It has the big old tires and you have to climb up this ladder to get into it.
The camp where I'm living looks pretty much like the camps that we put the Japanese in during WW2, or at least from the pictures I've seen of them. I moved in with this other guy to save on rent, a 52 year-old dude from Chiapas. So now I'm paying 20 bucks a week to live there.
From here I'm still trying to decide where to go. The experience has been incredible so far, exactly what I hoped for. The only concern I have is that I'm getting the feeling that the white dudes are trying to move me away from just picking with all the Mexican dudes into more a driving the tractor and loader role, and I'm worried how that is going to effect the dynamic back home at the camp where I'm the only non-Mexican dude and don't want to alienate myself by undoing the bond I created by working my ass off with them every day. But sitting in that tractor is so nice, ahhhh my back loves it. Boring no doubt and the time goes by a lot slower up in the chair, so I still need to figure that part out.
Hmmmm I think that is about it. Miss you dad. Hope Jersey City has been treating you all right. I really want to make a list of the 10 things to do with a political science degree, and just pick various actions from a day in the life of Pete.... Post-graduation!
SEE-YA!!! Love, Pete
Peter is now 28 years old. He graduated from Richard Stockton College in New Jersey with a degree in Political Science. His college career included a semester at the University of Nanging, China, and a semester as an intern with Amnesty International in Washington, DC. Between his first and second years of college he spent a year living in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, living and working with youth in an orphanage and working with Covenant House. He is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Education and working for the NYC Board of Education as a secondary ESL teacher in the Bronx.