Wednesday, July 14, 2010


A few weeks left here in El Paso. I just wanted to share the stories of a couple people that visited me in my office this morning.

Teresa, a young woman that lives in an apartment with an alley entrance and no air conditioning, came in today with her two young daughters to ask if we could give her some food from our food shelf. She is fortunate, however, because even though she is undocumented, she has managed to find work one day a week amidst El Paso's extreme unemployment problem. She works a nine-hour day each Friday cleaning a nice, large house. She is paid $40.00 for this shift. The hourly minimum wage here is the same as the federal; $7.25.

Lorenzo, a middle-aged guy who currently has nowhere to stay also came in to ask for some food today. He is a very big boy that carries a backpack; his case is one of those that no matter the size of the backpack, it always looks tiny and the straps are always too tight. He recently got a ride here from Wilcox, Arizona, where he had been working for a couple of months picking cucumbers. His knuckles and arms had scabs from the abrasive hairs of the cucumber plants. He normally worked from 6:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening, and was often asked to stay until 8:00 or 9:00. His wage was $8.25 per hour. Overtime pay was never given, and Lorenzo was told that if he didn't stay late when asked, he would not have a job the following day.