We visited Nogales as an
experience and an exposure to life in
A VALUABLE LESSON IN NOGALES, MEX.
Living in a modernized environment and having everything in the palm of our hands, makes us take privileges for granted. Video games, television and even the brand name bread are a luxury. It only takes a visit to Nogales, Mexico to realize the comfort in which we live. Not only that, but it also helps us understand why so many Mexicans come into this country. Mexico, as opposed to the United States, does not have the advanced infrastructure and a powerful economy. Specifically, Nogales is a border town in which many people depend from low wage jobs, many of them in maquiladoras. The city is poor yet many live happy. But at the same time, many companies become rich thanks to those poor happy people. It takes more than a couple of sentences to point out the need of Mexico and the luxury of the Americans.
Visiting Nogales for me, was visiting my home. As a Mexican, I felt attached to the city even though I had never been their. I am very familiar with the living cost and the conditions of living in Mexico, but I was very touched by Lupe, our lunch host. Lupe lives on the top of the hill. Her house is composed of old wooden boards. It only has two rooms. One is considered as the bedroom while the other one is used as the diner, the kitchen and at times the living room. It houses seven people. Five of them are her children and her grandchildren. Her husband works and is the only income that comes into the house, an income that consists of only $450 dollars a month. As in many houses in Nogales, she does not have purified water. Her house needed new material. She needed newer clothes. More directly, she needed more money. Under these conditions she is still able to raise a large family. As Rick Ufford-Chase explained in his article, Glimpsing the Future: Why Christians Must Resist the Global Economy, families struggle to raise their families without such basic amenities as running water or weather-protected homes. Yet, all these economic problems and needs were not a barrier for her to live a happy life. Sitting there with her made me feel as a rotten Mexican that does not remember what his real roots are. I felt bad for those times in which I wasted money in stupid things that I really did not need. Some of my relatives live under similar conditions, but I never saw them the same way I saw Lupe. I guess because Iíve seen my relatives live under that condition since I was a little boy. In contrast, I saw Lupe as a person with many needs but living her life fully. She seemed that she valued and thank God for everything she had received something that I need to learn.
As opposed to Lupeís visit, the visit to the maquiladoras brought me frustration and anger. The maquiladoras to me are a synonym of injustice and a legal way of exploiting Mexican people. As I walked through the hallways of the maquiladora I saw the faces of these people. I really was not putting attention to what Rosario Roldan, our guide, was saying. Most of them had a frozen face. They did not have any expressions. It seemed as if it was another boring day in their daily lives. I was trying to imagine what they were thinking. Questions like, how will I pay for my sons school or how am I going to raise my new child, came to my mind. It was a sad place. It is a place in which many people are stuck for more than 12 hours a day. The worst thing is that they wonít get more than $10 dollars for being there that long. Maria Guadalupe Torres article, We Are Not Machines helped me point out some observations in my walk through the maquiladora. Curtis was also an unsecured place for the workers. They did not have any safety equipment. Also, the workers do not have any protection from the company in case of an accident at work. Rosarioís speech was the icing that topped the cake. She seemed as an arrogant person. It seemed to me as if she felt pity for her workers. She spoke of the maquiladora as if it was a great place to work. It understandable that she cannot put her company in a bad standing, but she did not seemed compelled by the situation of her workers. I guess she was the person I could blame for the injustice of the workers, even though she had nothing to do with it. These injustice issues lead to migration into the United States. It is because of these needs that people need to come into this country and construct a better life.
Nogales is a city that needs a lot of work. As Torres said, it is really hard to create changes when more and more people are outpouring the new changes. More people come into these border towns looking for a better way of living, in many cases, looking for the door into the United States. When one is exposed to the situations explained above one can understand why people come to our country. Who will want to live under Lupeís conditions? Yes, she is wonderful person who does value the life that was given to us. Unfortunately, most of us are not like that. We always want more. Yet, Lupe was able to achieve it, something that she needs to be admired for. If she can live happy without all the luxuries that we have, then there is no reason for us to ask for more. Finally, there is no reason for us to deny immigration when other people are only looking for a better life.