Today was very interesting for all of us on the trip, as it was our first day devoted solely to immersing ourselves into the culture of Immokalee. It was an early morning as the girls and I woke up at 5 to go to the “early morning parking lot experience.” A member of the CIW, Wilson, along with a member of the student/ Farmworker alliance, Marina, took us to the parking lot where men poured in from the small town of Immokalee in hopes to get work for the day. From the parking lot, we were given a short walking tour of the town so that we could understand a little bit of the culture and history of the many men, women, and families that inhabit this town. We were shown the small trailers which house sometimes 12 or people; a number much larger than the intended capacity but necessary so the tenants are able to afford their $750 rent each week. We walked passed a camp where farmer workers were enslaved, locked in a truck, and forced to pay for food and water. We were told about the prosecuted slavery case (2007) associated with this specific house. The tour ended at the CIW Headquarters where we were shown a video of the 2003 hunger strike held in-front of Taco Bell’s corporate offices in California. To say the very least, our time spent with the CIW this morning showed up some of the daily trials and tribulations one must go through simply to make a living.
After leaving the CIW, our group split up to tour two facilities: Friendship House and Guadalupe Social Services. I was able to go to Guadalupe Social Services and spent my time sitting in on different case worker meetings.
-Katie Denk, Junior