Monday, March 3, 2014

Care for Community

Our first activity of our first day in Immokalee was lead by the Coalition of Immokalee workers with a presentation and a tour of the community. Julia, an Immokalee farmworker and CIW staffer, presented an overview of the CIW and her insightful perspectives. Although I've heard so much about the CIW and how they work since I am attending this trip for the second time, I don't think I'll ever know it all or learn enough. Hearing personal stories and unique perspectives always add to my awareness that a program like this is so incredibly complex as it impacts and transforms countless lives. I realized through her speaking about how the CIW fair food program is expanding in the tomato fields that so many other areas of agriculture can be experiencing injustices unknown and that people could be greatly in need for something like this. We then took a walking tour around Immokalee seeing the housing units in which the farmworkers live and the area in which modern day slavery took place. Although it is terrible living conditions for most, it hits you that you're walking through people's everyday lives and that this is what they call home. It makes the desire for justice and human rights so much more personal when you see the families and meet the farmworkers.

Next, some of us went to Guadalupe Early Learning Center to help the teachers and play with the kids. The center is a kindergarten preparatory school which helps improve literacy and learning skills for children from only six weeks old to five years old. I thought it was so great that they are setting these kids up to succeed in school and learn throughout life. It amazes me how open and receptive kids are with meeting new people and learning. I had such a fun time playing with them and seeing their different personalities. This is us playing in the sandbox!

Today was a great start to the week and I'm already learning so much with these amazing experiences of community. I can feel the care for the Immokalee community and the call to find justice for them rising. I can't wait to see what the rest of the week has in store. 

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