A bit of shame surfaces when I tell about one of this month’s “new” activities. Why have I waited so long?
“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.
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I speak Spanish. I am not totally fluent, but enough that I can spend a month each year in a small Mexican village where few people speak English.
For many years I have considered opportunities to work in some volunteer capacity that would serve our high Latino population. I considered “Smart” reader in the schools but cannot commit to being here every week. I hung some flyers at the library several years ago, offering to help non-English speakers with computer and other library issues. I had a few takers, but found that most older Latinos come with their children or grandchildren who were fluent in English.
A couple of weeks ago I got brave and visited a local organization that serves the seasonal working population in our valley. My orientation was pretty informative. The term, Seasonal Workers, covers a much larger section of the population than I imagined. In an high tourist and agricultural area it covers a wide variety of jobs, including migrant workers in the fields, of course, but also those who struggle due to lay-offs in the low tourist months. Who knew?
My particular job took me to the orchards. I worked with organization employees to inform those in seasonal housing of their opportunity for representation, medical help, and legal help. We took clothes, listened to problems, heard stories, and generally looked over the state of living conditions of ;men and women who travel through to pick our fruit. In Spanish!
Professionally and socially I know some of the owners of the farms we visited. I was relieved to see that the housing was good (100 percent better than when I was young) and that injuries were well-tended. It was good to hear that the foremen were aware that they really needed someone to represent the interests of the workers. It was also good to hear that the organization with which I was working was well-respected by those we visited.
I don’t know how I will use my Spanish skills in the future, but I am committed to reach out!