Meanwhile, Anastasia continues working, wondering how long she can last. “My hands will always ache,” she laments. “They hurt to a point where I can hardly work. Right now I have a pain in my stomach that often doesn’t let me work either. The hardest thing is mainly the weight of the boxes they ask us to carry. They’re very heavy. But using the hoe is also hard. I got sick working in the tomatoes, but once I get better I’ll go back.”
Rick Mines’ study shows that Anastasia Flores’ situation is shared by a growing section of the indigenous farm labor workforce. “The number of people over 50 has doubled, and it’s now about nine percent. That means that 10,000 to 15,000 people in California are in this situation,” he reported.
According to Irma Luna, “Indigenous women especially start to worry after they pass 50. They depend on the fields, but the work is hard and as we get older, it gets harder. Crew leaders won’t hire older people for many jobs. But the only other choice is to depend on your family, whether you stay in the U.S. or go back to Mexico.”
I’m sure they will be able to collect all that Social Security they paid into the system. Oh wait, no, that’s money they will never get back because they are undocumented. I’m sure they will die broken and impoverished happy with a warm feeling knowing that they’ve allowed Americans to buy vegetables at very low prices.