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Mexican children have drawn a hopscotch game in the sand of a migrant farmworker camp at one of the fruit companies in the Hood River Valley. Fruit growing: pears, apples, cherries, is what drives the economy in this region on the border of the states of Oregon and Washington. The planting, pruning, harvesting and packaging is mostly done by Mexicans, who have settled as permanent residents or travel with their families from one camp to another, while following the harvest. Some of them have a work permit or a greencard, some are illegal. Ninety percent comes from the Mexican countryside, men usually have a six year elementary education, women three years. Many of them are illiterate and most of them only speak Spanish or one of the native Mexican Indian languages. They live socially isolated in the camps, don’t own a phone, don’t have a driver's license or a car. An estimated 8,000 Latinos have settled permanently in the region. Between February and October another 20.000 migrants will work there as well. Many of their children have been born in the United States, which makes them American citizens. They may attend summer school and learn to speak English.
The Dalles, Oregon, USA. July 2005.
From the photo story The Farmworkers' Children.