“Immokalee has been my home since ‘89. I was one of the lucky ones who got approved for asylum because my home in Guatemala was dangerous. People were being murdered and I left. I used to visit Guatemala almost every year, but I haven’t visited since 2014. I’m not sure when I’ll go back, but maybe soon.
I worked in the fields and traveled up north every year. Now that I’m older, I work 2-3 times a week laying down pipes in Naples. It takes me about 45 minutes on the CAT bus to get to work, but I haven’t worked in 3 weeks. They said they’ll let us know when we’ll have work again. I’m too old to be working in the packing houses. At least that’s what they told me last year when I tried to find work. I understand they have their regular workers and spots don’t usually open.
Nowadays, I just come to El Zocalo to get out of the house and ride my bike. I don’t have much hobbies, but I read my Bible. Church is closed, but I know God is greater than what is going on.
Mario, an Immokalee resident, beats boredom by biking to El Zocalo, a local hangout spot in downtown Immokalee.
(Translated from Spanish)
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Maria Plata is a Mexican-American writer, educator, and lover of connecting people through storytelling.