Jorge: We Start Work Early, When It is Still Dark

empty dark street

I like this photo because the life of the day laborer starts early in the morning. If you want to work you have to get up very early, at least at 5 in the morning. And in the winter, this is what the day looks like. It’s dark. This picture is here at Casa Latina at 5 in the morning.

Me gusta esta foto porque la vida como jornalero comienza muy temprano. Si quieres trabajo te tienes que levantar muy de mañana, por lo menos a las 5 de la mañana. Y en el invierno así se ve, porque está oscuro a esa hora. Esta foto es aquí en Casa Latina a las 5 de la mañana.

Pedro: Maybe One Day I Will Have a Home

photo of woman and child

This picture reminds me of a woman I had when I lived in California, until we broke up. I’ve been here a few years and I’m still alone, but I’m thinking of maybe making a home again with somebody. But it’s not easy, especially for us here because it’s expensive. It is especially hard in the winter, when there is not a lot of work. You have to pay rent, and you have to pay for food and utilities, electricity and gas, and the phone.

Pedro: Selfie

photo of Pedro

I am proud of myself and of my work. I think we all have pride in our work. Like you, or me, we both have pride in our work, of something that we are, something we do. Because if we don’t have that pride then we cancel ourselves and we are nothing.

Yo estoy orgulloso de mí mismo y de mi trabajo. Creo que todos tenemos orgullo de nuestro trabajo. Como tu o como yo, ambos estamos orgullosos de nuestro trabajo, es algo que somos, algo que hacemos. Porque si no tenemos ese orgullo entonces nos cancelamos a nosotros mismos y no somos nada.

Pedro: Casa Latina is a Good Connecting Place

photo of Pedro with his phone

Well, this place, Casa Latina, has been a good connecting place ever since I first came here. They give you a connection with an employer, and then you see how things are, if the employer has a lot of jobs, a lot of work, then it’s up to you to establish a relationship and maintain the relationship with the employer. Here, I’ve had an employer and I’ve worked with him occasionally for the last three years. So I still do work with him. It’s a small business, so there’s not work every day…. Especially now in the winter, it is very slow and not a lot is going on.

Pedro: Using WhatsApp to Communicate with an Employer

photo of Pedro's employer with face obscured

That is a Puerto Rican woman who works in things in different parts of Central America. I don’t know exactly what she does, but she travels and this photo was about a month ago. I went to her home to do some work with concrete and so, she took my phone number and she wanted me to go back to do something else, because the first time I went there was some outdoor work and then she wanted me to do some more work indoors.

So why did you take a picture of her?

Pedro: Keeping a Record of Jobs with Photos

photo of completed stairs made of paving stones

I take a lot of pictures on my phone. Most are of job sites: pavers, flagstones, yard work. I like to keep a record of my work. The other day I had an interview with a business and I could show them the pictures. I have my letters of recommendation, but sometimes an employer wants to see evidence that I can do it, so I can show them on my phone: “This is a design that I have done. Do you want it this way, or that way, or how do you want it?”

Pedro: Sometimes Employers Don’t Treat You Well

photo of rock pathway

Well, in reality, sometimes it hasn’t gone well with some employers. Because sometimes they think because if you know how to do something and can work fast, they think that you can do it all very fast. And, here, well you have to measure and you have to calculate the slope and you have to level the ground and all that takes time and it’s not as fast; and it’s not just like digging and moving the dirt around. So, sometimes they want you to do everything really fast.

Pedro: We are Business Partners

photo of woman Pedro works with

This woman is my teammate. She works doing housecleaning and I work outside doing patios or cobblestones. We have worked together and people like how she works and people like my work so that’s why we are associates.

Ésta mujer es mi socia. Ella trabaja haciendo aseo de casas, y yo trabajo afuera haciendo patios o adoquines. Hemos trabajado juntos y a la gente le gusta cómo ella trabaja, y también les gusta mi trabajo, así que por eso somos socios.