Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Migration Flight Plan

Prior to flight, most pilots will file a flight plan. I'm not so detailed about our trip. We've traveled the roads to the north often enough that we have an idea how to get where we are going. The only time we need maps is when we enter cities or need to watch out for upcoming highway changes. We will probably make a stop by the Hope Migrant Mission Center in Arkansas. This is a place where migrants stop halfway for some rest and showers. They have small duplex trailers with bunk beds where you can sleep and large public showers for men and women. Across the street, there is a mission where parents take their kids for activities like coloring books, reading books, and worksheets. There used to be a place in Cairo, Illinois that provided fuel vouchers and had a few small trailers for migrants. I don't know if they are still there. Just to give you a general idea, we will be going to the area around Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have a cousin who lives out there. We will be filling out applications and visiting our family there. Afterwards, we will be heading to Wautoma, Wisconsin, or thereabouts. I have family there and my mom has some business to do. We'll apply for work there and then head to Rice Lake where we will apply for work at our target company. Afterwards, we will likely hang out in Wisconsin until production begins. I'll get a chance to visit family while I'm up there. Most of my father's side of my family lives there permanently. They are as pale as I am brown.
The reason why migrants apply to so many places is for added insurance that they will get a job. Also, the actual production season does not start until mid-June. If you arrive on time, you may have been beat out by early applicants. If you go early, you have to have enough money to get by, or find temporary work. There is plenty of temporary work. Water is not as scarce in Wisconsin. There are lakes and creeks all over the place. Wisconsin feeds the Mississippi river. Therefore, farming is more viable in the small scale; this means that there is plenty of field work available to get you by. Generally, farmers will pay on a weekly basis. So, keep reading RGV Life for posts about me working with a hoe or planting seedlings.
Once the plants open for production, things won't be so interesting. How energetic do you think I'll be working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week? My goals for the season include getting myself a little car, saving an undisclosed sum of money, paying for my next round of classes at UTPA, and, buying tech equipment for vidcasting and better podcasting. I expect to be back to the Rio Grande Valley around October, or December at the latest. I will continue to use RGV Life for blogging about my experience as a migrant because I intend to come back. As written in another post about RGV blogs, I want to provide historical content about my experiences as a resident of the Rio Grande Valley. One of the population segments of RGV residents is composed of migrants. With this experience, I hope to bring the experiences that migrants face to light for the public. With the current national interest on immigration and illegal immigrants, I know that I'll meet both on this trip. I'll interview them and write about their experiences here as well. There is a lot riding on this experience for me, more than just scratching out a living. I hope you come back to read about it.

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