Traveling for leisure is a luxury that many migrant and seasonal farmworker families simply do not have. While migrating families certainly do travel from one area of the country to another in order to follow the crops, they are unable to enjoy it in any comfortable, relaxed way. As much as possible, they work up until the day they leave, try to get as quickly from Point A to Point B as they can, and then start working again the day they arrive, if at all possible.
And yet, many migrant and seasonal farmworkers do yearn to travel and see new things – as evidenced by what farmworker children have told us is in essays submitted to our 2019 art & essay contest. Read on for some excerpts:
Elizabeth, age 13, from California:
“One of the challenges that my family has to face is not earning enough money. When my family doesn’t earn enough money it starts getting harder. I dislike the fact that in the summer (it) is hot outside and you have to try to survive it without dying and you do not get a lot of money for what you do.
My dream is to travel around the world with my family so we could all see the beautiful view and not be afraid of who we are and we could be able to express ourselves. One of my really important dream is for a farmworkers to get the right amount of money that they deserve.”
Estafany, age 11, from California:
“It is hard to be the child of field worker because my parents have to leave constantly and it is hard not to be with my parents. I am always sad when my dad leaves because I love him so much.
The things that keep me motivated are my family because I don’t want my parents to come home tired so I want to get a good job so I can by them a house. I also want to travel around the world and learn different languages. I do not want work in the fields I want to have a nice job. When I grow up I want to either be a doctor or a translator, but sometimes it is hard when your parents are not there with you.”
Joel, age 13, from California
“One of my goals is to go to college and get a good career… With my good job I would be able to buy a home for me, and hopefully my parents’ dream home. I would be able to help them with their retirement. I would buy my mom and dad a plan ticket so they can go to Mexico and visit their family who they have not seen a long time. Maybe they can even stay awhile? If they do stay I would visit them once in awhile.”
Angel, age 11, from California:
“My Dreams are to go to college and help my family because my family are a few months behind on rent and we have not paid for electricity every few weeks also, and they don’t pay us a lot of money. Every week we earn around $600 a week for all of us, and the rent costs about $2,600 dollars per month, so it does not add up. I also would like to travel because I feel very bored at my house.”
Kaylee, age 12, from California:
I have so many goals and dreams for when I grow up and I hope that I will accomplish my dreams and goals. One of them is to have lots of money to help my family get what they want. …My other dream is to travel to so many places in the world and get to learn and see new things that I’ve never seen before. I also would like to have a family and a house to live with so it can make me happy.”
Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are not paid enough for what they do. One of the children even titled her essay “Never Enough,” because, no matter how hard her parents worked, they were always behind in their rent and utility payments.
Unfortunately, farmworkers endure hardships of many kinds for extremely low pay, which doesn’t seem right when we depend on them for the basics – FOOD – that we need to survive. That’s why AFOP Health & Safety sponsors the annual National Long-Sleeve Shirt Drive, happening right now during National Farmworker Awareness Week. Interested in donating? Check out our list of drop-off locations, here: https://afop.org/nfaw.