7 and 70

There are two groups of people who are frequently ignored by society, one group is because they are so little and are just beginning to learn about the world, and the other is simply because they are older. While with some people it may be true, it isn’t for the ones who I worked with this past week.

I’ve been working at the Migrant Summer School for the past couple of weeks. I work with first and second graders and I love it. The children are full of joy even when they are struggling with the material being thrown at them. These children, although looking like any ordinary seven-year-old, live more difficult lives than most American’s will in their lifetime. Many live in migrant camps which sometimes have challenging living conditions and many miss school not just because of the months away but also because of the language differences of their home countries and the United States. One little girl in particular experienced racism and discrimination on her drive up from Mexico with her family. She was so traumatized at the humiliation of having this happen to her family that her parents no longer want to drive home and will be flying the children back to Mexico so that they don’t have to experience this again. While another, who I had met previously to summer school, doesn’t know what it’s like to live in a home with brick inner walls. These children experience poverty, racism, and different types discrimination at a very young age, more than most people will every experience.

I have also been working with the local senior center here in Gettysburg where every other week, Alyra and I come in with breakfast for the seniors and enjoy it with them. Normally talk is light but this week one of the women began talking about how much they look like their mothers and how it hurts to look in the mirror. This was one of the saddest things I have ever heard, mostly because I look just like my mom and I can see how it’s going to be as hard on me one day as it is on them. They said how almost everybody they have ever cared for is dead. This hit me hard, and not because it’s a new fact, but because these people are alone. A lot of them have little pieces of their old lives left and yet society continues to almost push them to the side when they probably need us the most.

This week was not eye-opening, it was sad. It hurt to see that some of the people I’ve grown to care for so much, are getting so hurt by life.

Ivy Torres ’18