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By Lisa Burks  Posted by Joan Brunwasser (about the submitter)     Permalink
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In Mexico, 1% of the population has all the
riches, 99% live as peasants. Peasants. Can you imagine that? No, we
can't. That's why they come here and they love it. They can live like
kings and their families cared for on $3.00 an hour.

I met one man in Hot Springs, Arkansas that I regularly think of. He
is a gracious,
very sweet natured man. He didn't speak any English, I spoke very
little Spanish when we first met. He filed an unemployment insurance
claim. OMG! I couldn't interview him or understand him. That made me
determined to learn more Spanish, now I'm bilingual. At any rate, by the
time it was said and done he'd learned enough English, and me Spanish,
to communicate pretty well. Here's some of what he told me:

He'd been in this country for over 20 years. Started out across the Rio
Grande as a kid of 16 or so. The border patrol fished him out of the
river and plopped him in the bed of a truck, wet and cold he was sent
back to Mexico. No blanket, no dry clothes, nothing. He said it was so
cold..If you've ever seen the Rio Grande, you know how perilous that
swim was.

> As soon as he got back to Mexico he swam the river again, he was
fished out
again. You know what they say about the 3rd time. That time he made
it and got a busboy job paying more money than he'd ever seen in his

He had to quit school when he was three to work the fields in Mexico.I
did say three. He couldn't read or write and he was always ashamed
about that. He absolutely loves the hospitals in this country! He
said, you dunno...you can go in there, get your medicina, see el
doctor and they send you a billa!! He said, in Mexico, you no
have no money then you die. They won't treat people in Mexico that
don't have money. He finally did get his US citizenship.

Once this man came to my office pointing to his eye saying 'muy malo'.
That means
very bad, and I could understand something was wrong with his eye. He
explained that he had gone into the eye care
center at the local Wal Mart about it. They told him he needed a $600
pair of glasses and that it would be alright. He decried "Ah ya ya,
$600 dollaros?? No! So he came to me. I made a phone call to a local
optometrist office and they worked him right in. He walked across town
to make the appointment, as he had no vehicle. The eye doctor gave him
a pair of reading glasses and more importantly, some antibiotic eye
drops for the eye infection he had, free of charge. He walked all the
way back across town to show me the glasses and the medicine. He was
just plain ecstatic and thrilled that he didn't have to pay 'la
doctora' at Wal Mart $600.00. I called the optometrist and thanked him.
Now that is the real spirit of Americans. This story speaks volumes
about right human relations and how we should all treat each other.

Many Americans have never seen hardship or lack of anything. Maybe
this will give them some understanding as to what desperate people are
willing to do to survive. It's called strength of will.

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Lisa Burks lives and works in Arkansas. She has been very active in the election reform movement.
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