Shack Day Six – Why Do Such A Thing?
It was back to early mornings today – another day working in the field. The students slept through their alarm and ended up running down the street in the first light of the day to catch their ride at 5:45am. We went back to the same tomato field as earlier in the week but by this time the regular crew had almost finished taking the trellis’ apart in the whole the field. We continued to roll the plastic tubing into football shaped bundles like we did last time. It was nice to arrive and know how to do the job – it didn’t feel nearly as awkward as it had our first morning in the field. It was even better to hear the field boss say he was impressed by how quickly we had caught on to the job and how well we were doing. Once we were finished that last section, the field boss sent us over to a different section to clear away the dead tomato plants that had been pulled out and left drying in the middle of the rows. Half of us used sticks to roll the plants into large piles. The other half of us used a giant sling made of burlap bags to carry these piles down to the end of the row and throw it onto a giant pile to be burned. By the end of the work day the pile of dead tomato plants that stretched along the section was taller than us and it felt like we had walked a hundred miles up and down those rows. There are still many sections left that need to be cleared before the field will be ready for the next crop of tomatoes to be planted.I marvel at the amount of work that goes into the produce that I pick through at the grocery store to make sure they are not bruised and then complain if the prices are too high. I also marvel at how hard the people I have met work to take care of their families and how generous they are with what they do have. I have been proud of the students for everything they have tried this week in an effort to get a better understanding of a life very different than what we are used to in Canada. Many Mexicans that we have met this week ask Santiago, our translator, why we would want to do such a thing? Why would Canadians live in a house made of cardboard, cook over a fire, give up their hot shower and work in the fields or go clamming? They do not understand why people would voluntarily do this and after some explanation they are appreciative of our efforts to understand where they are coming from. But they still leave shaking their heads. Little do they realize there is so much that we can and are learning from them.Written by Rose Friesen, School of Leadership Mexico Facilitator