It’s day 4. The week is coming to an end. Tomorrow we say goodbye to dental hygienist (Darton College), physical therapy (Georgia State), and pharmacy students (UGA–University of Georgia, Athens). We’ll miss them, they do good work (and they’re friendly).
During the day we work at Cox elementary with the children. We do basic screening tests for vision and hearing as well as blood pressure and height/weight. We are also responsible for the most dreaded table: “The SHOTS” (hemoglobin/glucose testing).
During our stay, Señor José drives students in the Ellenton Clinic van very afternoon, while Theresa points out crops of cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, hot peppers and corn. He makes stops for the “tourist” students to take home samples of the bounties from the fields.
Year in and year out, migrant workers from Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras travel to the US to pick fruits and vegetables that end up on our table. They endure long hours in the hot sun and very short rest breaks. We (mostly urban Americans) reap the benefits of their hard labor. However none of us are able to imagine the intensity of the work that migrant farm workers do on a daily basis.
In the afternoon, if we’re not exploring farms, we’re probably in the hotel, catching up on sleep. The Hampton Inn becomes eerily quiet during our “siesta” time. Everyone is in their rooms taking blissful naps before night camp. Then, it’s time to get ready to caravan to the camps where the male workers live. But first many hit the coffee carafe, which stays piping hot morning and afternoon, thanks to Miss Sherry.
Shelby Perry and Jennifer Ratcliffe