Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hispanic Heritage Month

Not being at work in schools for the first time in 39 has me out of touch with the usual flow. I forgot it was Hispanic Heritage Month. is great for things like this. They had video features all this past week. Here's one above. What's great with ny1 is that there is usually an accompanying transcript:
Hispanic Heritage Week: Day Laborers Work Hard To Send Money Home
Working as a day laborer is risky business: there are no guaranteed jobs or paychecks. As NY1’s coverage of Hispanic Heritage Week continues, Staten Island reporter Amanda Farinacci takes a look at some day laborers who still manage to send money to their native countries.
Each morning, Julio Bardales comes to el centro de hospitalidad, an immigrant help-center in Port Richmond, hoping to find construction work.
Through day labor, he supports seven people back home in Honduras as well as a son and brother here on Staten Island. When he's working, he earns a couple hundred dollars a day, keeps what he needs to survive, and sends the rest to his family:
“If he gets a job seven days a week, then every week he sends money to his country. When he has a job for seven days, he sends back $250,” says Bardales through translator Reina Ubaldegaray.
Bardales is one of hundreds of day laborers who hang out at el centro between jobs. They talk about their families back home, how they miss them and want to help them, and feel anxious about being able to do so, because the money sent home is invaluable.
“They get very happy because compared to the money… What he gets a day over here, if he was working there, it would be 15 days,” says Bardales by way Ubaldegaray.
Many use money transfers to wire money home. That's where housekeeper Olga Gutierrez comes after scraping money together to send to support seven of her children in Guatemala.
“She gets very sad; she's very sad because she's not being with them, living with them, and she's sad because she's not sure if she's going to get a job next week,” says Gutierrez through Ubaldegaray.
When daily work isn't available, many workers begin to stress about how to pay their bills and send money home. That's why the center tries to remind people they're available by advertising around the neighborhood.
“We always get people who are very concerned, that haven't been able to get jobs. Sometimes it's very frustrating for them,” says Gonzalo Mercado of el centro de hospitalidad.
The frustration still doesn't prevent them from showing up, day after, to try to make ends meet.

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