With a stagnant economy, a lack of jobs, and capital to invest, many Jornaleros seem hopeless and tired. Some, plan a return to their native land, others, await, and the incessant cold winds in the morning make them reconsider their position. Some say that tolerance is key to succeed in life, but how can people succeed when there is no money being earned, and bread to eat?
As a result, some of Costa Mesa’s Day Laborers have decided to lower their rate. Alejandro,from San Andres Nicolas Bravo, Estado de Mexico says, “Antes ganabamos $80.00 al dia y con lonche. Ahora si ganamos $70 por dia nos conformamos.” Alejandro says,”Before, we used to win $80.00 a day with lunch. Today if we win $70.00 we are happy.” Just to put this in perspective, before Day Laborer’s used to work five days a week and win $80.00 a day, which on weekly basis was $400.00. Today if they work two or three days per week it’s great. All they want is for them to be able to pay their rent on time and have food to eat. Sending money back home is merely impossible.
Furthermore, Lino, my old contact left to Mexico. Last week he said that he had not worked for a whole month. He claimed that there was no point in staying here; if opportunity was non-existent. Some claim that they haven’t been able to pay El Coyote (the people smuggler). One guy commented that between his four brothers they had to pay $10,000 to get him across. This very same young man said that he hasn’t even been able to one hundred dollars. Work is slow and low paying.
With the holiday seasons around the corner, many Americans look forward to open gifts and dine with their families, while other’s far from home all they ask for is work. I understand that many Americans are unemployed, uninsured, but they’re home. Our country at least provides social programs, which even though they’re not perfect, they do make a difference in our lives. Undocumented workers, who came here by push and pull factors can only be hopeful, and tolerant. With sadness in their faces and some with tears in their eyes, y con un nudo en la garganta all have the same wish and that is to work. We must note that our Jornalero’s are versatile, but versatility is not enough in a stalled economy.