– Joana Tellez Flores, 2021 SAF intern
Episcopal Farmworker Ministry
There really wasn't a typical day at work at the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry this summer; there was always something different to do and learn. On the days I had outreach, we would start by planning out the sites to visit early in the afternoon and then load up the van. We would usually take hygiene kits, snack bags, and clothing to hand out to the farmworkers while visiting. We would get to a site and ask if there were any concerns and if it was our first time visiting, we would give them a proper welcome and explain what we do as a ministry. There were days outreach was great and everyone wanted to talk to us. But other days were hard, trying to talk with them when sometimes they were too scared to really say anything. It felt like there were so many issues to tackle and so many more people to help.
At some camps, the workers would just need legal help or help with the vaccine or maybe some clothes and food. But there were also times that workers were experiencing difficulties with the grower and I wasn't always prepared for that. It made me feel so many emotions at once and I couldn't believe a person could be treated that way. But my co-workers knew who to talk to and how to help so it felt good to support them and hopefully stop the abuse. It made me think about how many more farmworkers may be experiencing this treatment and abuse and receive no help whatsoever.
I'm thankful I was able to meet so many people and often I was meeting workers who are my age. I was able to see how different their lives are from mine and hearing their stories really inspired me. I am forever grateful because in the moments we shared together this summer, they taught me valuable lessons.