The only gift that counts: education
Life in Mexico Part 1: The Day Job
I live in the biggest city in the world. I arrived in Mexico five years ago thinking I was only going to be working here for 4 maybe 6 months. Life has changed a lot in those five years. Terrible things have happened and incredible things have happened.
As a side note: I hate typing on this blackberry, my boxer’s fingers are just too damn big. But it’s a two journey/ride to work and I am counting my blessings right now.
The train takes me through some of the outer slums of Mexico City. Sometimes I complain about my apartment, furniture, that I don’t have enough money, etc… Yet right now when I look at the window I see houses mad of leftover shipping palettes.
My job right now is making training videos for factory workers who can’t read or write so that they can perform their duties well enough to get paid and make a living to feed their family.
95% of the 700 or so employees are “solteras.”
That means “single mothers.”
The owner of the factory is the person employing me and is one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I once asked him why he employed so many women (who happened to be single mothers). They work better and more honestly and “Who do you think needs the money the most?”
He doesn’t have a lot of good feelings about fathers who abandon their children.
Unlike a lot of factories, he actually pays his people above minimum wage (minimum wage in Mexico is about 1/4 of that in the US) as well as their medical, insurance, social security, etc… When an employee is pregnant he see’s to it they get they vitamins (which they can’t afford) as well as ultrasounds and medical attention.
(I have to get off the train now and take a taxi the last 30 minutes. Ok, on the road again!)
He also has set up a school inside the factory where people can learn how to learn and learn key life skills such as how to read. He pays for the teachers out of his own pocket and allows the workers to bring family as well. His brothers run teaching centers in different parts of Mexico and I’ll be making a film for them next on the state of education today and solutions for it.
(Cripes these roads are rough! Look! A herd of cows in the other lane!! No BS!)
A lot of times when you hear about illiteracy statistics, they are just numbers. But those numbers get a whole lot more daunting when you work with some of them all day.
It makes me realize that the best gift you can give a child is an education.
Because it’s not really an education you are giving them, it’s a future.
This is the last stop, time to go to work. Talk to you later.