In those days in L.A. most of us crossed through different borders, through Tijuana, Mexicali, Algodones or Tecate, almost all of them connect to Los Angeles. I have been through all those borders. Where I liked it most was in Mexicali, because every day I would work on this side picking melons, and by noon they pay you. At that time the border was just made of string with little wires on it. That’s it, there was nothing. In those days you would cross more easily.
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.
Here, that is Cuatro Latas [Four Cans]. That is what I call him. Always he’s there. This is on Waldon, on 3rd and Pike, and if you want to see him, he is there like at 7:00 pm, because he sells cigarettes… Yeah, you know, he also lives on the streets. Almost every picture I took is people from the streets, except one that is there, he is not from the streets, a guy who is from Peru, he has always had work. He has his house, he has money, you know? But the rest are from the streets. So this one, there is not much to say about him.
Well, see, I have a small apartment, because I have a friend, a friend who is a very nice guy, so he said, “You can get a small room, why do you stay on the streets?” Because I’m now 60, but at age 55 they give you more of a chance, when you’re 55 years old, so he facilitated and looked out for me. If not, I would still be out in the streets.
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
This is Samuel, another work colleague. That day he was doing the housekeeping/cleaning. I know him from Juárez, but we met here in Seattle. We have worked together. A very good guy, retired, you know.
Yea, I don’t know much about him, but, you know, he’s a good person, A good worker.
And you, how long have you been in the United States?
If you want, I will go wash dishes at your house. You will pay me, right? Or bathe your dog, whatever….It’s work. I work when I am paid. I think we all work for money, right?
Si quieres, yo voy a tu casa y lavo los platos. Me pagas, ¿verdad? O baño tu perro, lo que sea. Es trabajo. Yo trabajo cuando me pagan. Creo que todos trabajamos por dinero, ¿verdad?
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.
I took this picture of Ricardo because I know him, he comes here, he helps us. He is a person that I like the way he is, because he gives us a chance to be exposed to many things, you know? Because, we can all learn from each other, and I learned from him how to take photos -- it’s the first time I take photos.