“I just don’t think my dream will ever come true.”
Someday, I would love to work in a restaurant as a cook — just ask my brothers to tell you how good my cooking is! For now, though, I live at home with my parents and two brothers, and my parents and I work in the potato fields. It’s not at all what I want to do, but finding work hasn’t been easy.
My friends have referred me to jobs — usually as a dishwasher or busser at a restaurant, where I could at least get my foot in the door — and I have even had interviews, but it never works out. I speak Spanish and not much English, so the language barrier is part of it. But, it’s even harder without a driver’s license. Even though I know that I can get a ride and I tell employers that, they end up hiring someone else. A few times, I’ve even shown up for work at a new job and had them tell me they found someone else. It’s very discouraging.
Working in the potato fields is horrible — I cried when I realized that this was my only option. They don’t let us take breaks, and sometimes they don’t even let us stop for lunch. I am supposed to earn $9 an hour, but sometimes I don’t get paid at all unless one of my father’s friends who speaks English threatens to report them. The job is 45 minutes away from our home, and it’s just not dependable.
Because the work is seasonal, the hours change throughout the year and our income goes up and down with the change in hours. At peak season, we might work from 7 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m., but in the late summer and early fall we only work until 11 a.m. By November, there will be no more work for me, and very few hours for my parents. At least my brothers’ jobs are year-round, but it will still mean tightening up our budget even more to make the money we have go as far as possible during the winter months.
I’ve always wanted to own a café and be a business owner, or at least support myself and have my own apartment. Right now, we can’t even afford to go to the doctor or dentist, and we have to rent a house. When winter comes, it will be even more difficult to scrape by. I can’t even think about going to school to try to better my chances of getting the job I want. I just don’t think my dream will ever come true.