Lessons Learned From A Box Of Raisins

04.14.15
04.14.15

By Bianca Pulido/ South Kern Sol

Have you ever been a teenager working in the fields turning grapes into raisins in the summer heat?

My name is Bianca Pulido and I worked in the fields last summer here in Arvin. I can now imagine the huge struggle that field workers go through every day to put food on their table.

While it was not my first job, it was my first experience working in the fields. I began this job the last few days of my junior year. I left school at 2:57 every day, then went home to eat, do some homework, and wait for my mom to get out of her first job.

She is a single mother of 4 girls and she has always been a very hard working lady. At this time she held 2 jobs and neither were easy. One of them was working in the fields and the other was working at Grimmway Farms as a packer. It killed me to see her come home tired every afternoon and have to get ready for her next job.

So one day when she came home I told her, “Sabes que mamá quiero trabajar contigo en la tarde” (You know what mom, I want to work with you in the evenings). She told me to stop speaking nonsense.

I replied, “No really, how hard can it be? I’m just going to pick grapes, right?”

Giving me a knowing look, she finally agreed: “Okay, fine, you want to work in the fields, let’s go then.”

I waited for her outside dressed in shorts and a tee shirt. My mom sent me back inside; that is when I learned that you cannot work in the fields in shorts and a tee shirt, you have to be properly covered from head to toe to protect yourself from the heat and insects. I changed into old jeans, a sweater (in the heat!) and a hat. My mom told me that we go in at 5 in the afternoon and work until the sun goes down.

When we got to the fields my mom gave me a pair of heavy gloves, a tub, some paper and a pair of scissors to cut the grape bunches. She said, “Follow me, we each have our own lane and mine is this way.”

Read the full story here

Support young journalists and artists