Sweat, Sacrifice and Heartache
An homage to the men and women out there, here, millions of them, many of them Hispanics, others not, living in the trenches, working every day, sun up to sun down, some by choice, others by destiny, misfortune perhaps, in the most ‘menial,’ undesired of jobs, often overlooked, if not completely misrepresented, both in the mainstream and in life, ‘a duras penas, con sudor y sacrificio‘, doing whatever it takes, simply to make it another day. Not a pity party, instead a ‘hey we see you out there, you’re not invisible. ¡Animo!’
Criada, sirvienta, mucama – housekeeping!
Obrero, jornalero, mano de obra – en la construction…
Niñeras, de Niños y de Ancianos también.
Mantenimiento…o sea, Maintenance.
Reciclador Profesional – Professional Recycler!
Paleteros, Eloteros, Chicharroneros…Street Vendors really.
Talking, Walking…Ads. The newest trend in Guerilla Marketing.
Corta Yardas – Yard Cutter, of many…many a lawns!
Piscadores de lechuga, fruta…cotton, or anything else in high demand.
‘Y muchos, muchos, muchísimos más‘. My parents, my uncles, my aunts, my cousins, my sisters, my friends, my family, ‘y todos, somos los mismos‘ – even today, college degrees, certificates, office jobs, ‘inglish’, and all. These people were my teachers in life from whom I learned much more than I ever did in any classroom, not the least of which were three basic ‘principios’: honor, humility and dignity.
Nice post, brother. You’ve captured my entire familia there. One thing I am proud of is my hardworking family, all of them, well, mostly. My Tio Frijol siempre se la pasa jodiendo but I’ve learned even to respect that of him, his free spirit and against the grain mentality. We all have a blacksheep, I’m sure.
But the rest…carpenters, maitros, yarderos, painters, housekeeping, janitors, babysitters…you name it. Many who have turned those humble beginnings into full-fledged businesses. God has blessed them. And I am proud. My dad migrated from El Salvador 30 years ago, till this day he is the hardest working man I know. He taught me the virtue of ‘Hay que echarle ganas y arroparse hasta donde la cobija aguante.’ (Work hard and be content.) Honor, humility and dignity. That’s what I feel when I see our streets being built by our people. ¡Animo!
Gotta say, few comments have moved me as much as this one. Thank you for taking the time to leave it here 🙂
Aplausos! I can’t think of a tribute that is more deserved, Juan.
As I write this comment, the sun is rising, but my husband has already been gone for hours, just like every morning. Over the years he has worked so many different kinds of jobs – metal work, farm work, hotels, as a janitor, cleaning windows, restaurant work, construction – anything that will put food on the table for our family.
He tells our kids to work hard in school, go to college, (which he himself was unable to do though his dream was to be a doctor.) He tells the kids he doesn’t want them to work like a burro the way he does.
I admire him and all the others who wake up before the sun and keep this country running. A big “thank you” from my corazón, to you for the tribute, and to nuestra gente – the hardest workers in the world.
How proud you are of your husband, Tracy…and so am I, for all the hard work y sacrificio. So glad more people are recognizing the hard work our people and others doing this work are contributing to our society, and as my mother would say “y a mucha honra!”
This is everyday here where I live and these are my friends. My brother was once out of work. My sister-in-law continued her 3-day a week, p-t job. It disgusted me as I thought about my friends who would be busting their butts to make ends meet instead of receiving handouts from family, friends, churches, etc. This is how America was built and how it is maintained today.
Another great post! Thank you for sharing with us. =)