Four Thousand Zucchinis
We returned to the fields again and this time was more interesting for me because I was actually able to go. I was sick the day before and had to stay behind. I have some previous farming experience from my work back in Canada. We harvested zucchini, cutting them off the plant and then throwing them in the dirt to be collected later. This surprised us all. In Mexico, only the small little zucchini’s are able to be sold, apparently no one wants to eat the larger ones. The concept still confuses me, the fact that so much food goes to waste simply because of its shape and size, because the market prefers them a certain way. Ever wonder why all the vegetables and fruit on the shelf are the exact same? Where did the rest go that didn’t fit the criteria? This farmer figured many of the unwanted zucchini’s would be used for pig food.
We must have picked thousands of zucchini – and I kept count so I do mean thousands, 4,125 to be exact! The labour was hard and our backs are sore from all the bending. It’s hard for me to imagine doing that back breaking work every day for years, only making enough to just get by. I just cannot imagine it. I’ve tried comparing my previous farm work to this but it’s not really comparable. The workload was higher than I have ever experienced.
Being sick and missing a day of work at the fields, I realized that if I was actually living in this situation, staying home sick isn’t really an option. Let’s pretend I’m the only one in my family earning money. I can’t take a sick day if I’m only earning enough to get by each day. I would not have the same luxury I do back home when I am sick, to take a day, sometimes with pay, to rest and recover. This is something that I had not really thought about before this trip, and something that I am happy to have recognized. This week is full of new and thought provoking experiences, and I am learning quite a lot.
– Written by George, Academy Student 2015