Before I came back to Gettysburg for the summer, I had expected to work with the immigrant and migrant community in town. Now that our first has come to an end, I’ve come to the realization that it is so much more than that. As I worked on the Painted Turtle Farm, visited seniors and migrants, and went to various community outreach programs, I realized how we are working with what I would like to call “The Forgotten”.
The first of them were the migrants and the immigrants that we met on the first day. The migrants and their lives were the ones who tugged at my conscience for the remainder of the week. Seeing the women and their children living in conditions that were not much better than a barn or shed, with the walls being made of just cork material and the floors were cold cement. One of the women we met had five children, four little girls and one little boy, all under the age of 10. One of them had been watching me as I ate an apple that we had gotten from an apple packer. The little girls accepted a bag of apples and ran inside. A little while after they came back outside, each with an apple in hand. Their parents work hard to make sure that we are able to get the fruits and vegetables we need but when it comes time to pay them, their children and their families are forgotten and it is as if they don’t matter or exist.
The next group were the senior citizens. They were so excited to talk to us when we came by for a few minutes because most of them were housebound. It was sad to see that people had just forgotten those who cared for them for years and tried making sure that they were safe. These people were alone and it was as if they had never had any family, it was just them. What upset me most was watching them eat processed food when obviously most of them loved vegetables and being healthy.
The last of them were the people who were at Circles. Those were the most inspirational people; they were the ones that had everything against them. They were forgotten by the government and ignored by society but instead of allowing themselves to be ignored, they worked together and are making sure that they are remembered. If not as individuals, then as a whole. They were beautiful to watch, the support and the genuine love they had for one another.
While society and the government likes to ignore these people, I am so graeful that I will get to work with these amazing people this summer. I could not have asked for better people to be around because I know that with their help, I will become a stronger and wiser person than I was before, I will judge less and be more proactive about issues that matter to all of us, not just the people like me but those who may have a little less or a little more. This country has become blind to those in need and we need to make sure that they are seen and that they above all are safe and secure in their lives.