That picture is at Christmas time and I had to work on Christmas day, so when I was coming back home I remembered that in Mexico there is a nice tradition of getting together with family and to spend time together for the dinner have pozole and other traditional dishes… I was going back to the shelter. In Mexico I have my brothers. My parents, they’re dead.
Family and community
Well, yes, I have to some English classes but I forget and it doesn’t stay with me. I have this application called Bilingual and I think it’s better, more entertaining because first it asks me to pick an image and write it or describe it, then it asks me to say it and then it asks me to write again, so I think it’s very complete. There are other courses that I’ve seen that are just blah blah blah. It’s also easier because you can speak and if you don’t say it correctly then it’ll say it’s an error and you have to repeat it.
I have a brother who is here. I sometimes see him but he has mental health problems. So he sometimes goes away and disappears. He worked a lot when he was younger. So he has social security.
Do you have any family back in El Salvador?
Yes I have some. Sometimes we talk on the phone. I have a niece in El Salvador.
Do you use a computer to communicate with them?
This is a Cuban guy who takes a bus and goes downtown. He works in the ships. And so, I see him in the street a lot….
So, why did you want to take a picture of him?
Well, because he is Latin as well. And one, because we speak Spanish. There are people that I know, they are my friends. I have many friends around the city.
It looks like you are not alone a lot. You have many friends.
This picture is of my friend, he is also a musician. He plays the bass. He plays a lot of popular Mexican music of many groups. He knows a lot. He was at my house.
How long have you been in your house?
I have been here for several years. I come from El Salvador and I have been in the US for 25 years. I have been in this house for 4 years and in Seattle I've been 24 years. I have sometimes gone back to El Salvador, and then I come back. I once had a Job for many years here and that’s why I stayed.
Yes, he is from Peru, he works in Ballard. He helped Susan as well, a long time ago. He was a paratrooper. You know what that is? And so we always drink coffee at McDonalds, in the morning when he goes to work, and I come. He is a great person, but he is sitting because he is very tall. See there? He’s very tall. Máximo, this is his name. I asked, “Can I take a photo?” “If you want,” because he has already taken pictures with his own camera, he has asked me just do this, but sometimes because I don’t know, two or three pictures would be bad. This time he accepted, so he sat.
That is in the park where I play dominoes. People feed the birds there. I’m not drinking, so I have to look for something to do. We all do something different. Instead of drinking, I have found something to do.
Éste es un parque donde juego dominó. Las personas dan de comer a las palomas allí. No estoy bebiendo, así que tengo que buscar algo qué hacer. Todos hacemos algo diferente. En lugar de beber, encontré algo qué hacer.
I took this photo because he is a fun guy… he also works at Casa Latina. I lived on the streets many years, and I know almost everyone from the streets. For many years I slept wherever I could, and it’s never bothered me, I didn’t care… I just live one day at a time. Now I have a small apartment, because I have a friend who helped me. If not, I would still be out in the streets
He is a fellow work partner from here, and I have known him a long time, so he allowed me to take a photo of him.
And why did you take a picture of him?
Because he is very helpful: I have known him a while, he hangs around here in the streets, he survives in the streets. I think this is why.
He survives in the streets?
Mm hmm, and he works here at Casa Latina.
Ok, and you work here at Casa Latina, right?
Yes, when there is work.