What No One Tells You

When I arrived back at Gettysburg, I had no idea the emotional toll this experience would have on my life. In just the first few days on this fellowship I got to see what the life of a migrant and immigrant was like. Constant moving, working on farms on a daily basis just to earn a wage that is barely livable. Some housing situations were better than others, but none of the living situations were up to par to an ideal housing situation. Nevertheless, the occupants were just happy to have a place to sleep for a few months while they worked on the farms. They are constantly moving around to find work. Seeing how they lived their everyday lives put things into perspective. I started to appreciate where my food comes from even more now and I appreciate all of the workers who work every day for our food production.

When we buy our produce in the store, no one tells you about all of the people who helped to get it there. No one tells you about the low wages they pay workers to get your produce onto the table. No one tells you about the living situations that the migrant and immigrant workers live in. There is so much they don’t share, and very few details that they do. On Monday night, we went to the Painted Turtle Farm and spent some time with the families who come to water their plots at the farm every evening. Even under their circumstances, they are some of the friendliest, hard-working, and happiest people I have ever had the pleasure of being around. I don’t remember a moment where I wasn’t laughing or smiling.

Seeing the labor camps, orchid farms and factories that the migrants and immigrants see every day was an eye-opening experience and I feel as though every student at Gettysburg College should take a day and venture off campus to see what else is around them and to see all of the hard work that is put into the food that they eat every day. Then maybe, just maybe we can begin to understand what and why these people deserve all of our respect.

Alyra Parker ‘18