The Harvest/La Cosecha
Young immigrant farm workers
It is estimated that about 400,000 immigrant children leave schools, friends and homes every year to pick the food we all eat. Children as young as 10 years old spend their childhoods working 10-14 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping their families survive the American Dream they once came to seek.
A recent documentary titled The Harves or “La Cosecha” features the lives of three young Latino migrant farm workers who sacrifice their lives, and their futures, picking crops under the worst conditions, especially for children their age.
La Cosecha is the heart wrenching story of Zulema (12), Perla (14), and Víctor (16), who spend their childhoods on the road, from campsite to campsite, never able to ground themselves anywhere. They attend multiple schools but never finish the year before it’s time to leave again. Their chances of making it or graduating High school are close to none, and attending college seems just impossible.
The relationships with friends are short-lived and hard to keep. Their social life is reduced to nothing other than their families, having a detrimental impact in their development.
The hardest thing to watch is how, at such a young age you see a resignation in their eyes. Their youth keeps them vibrant and full of life, but you can see that they are breaking. Take Zulema, for example. When asked about what her dreams were, she said, “I have none. I don’t have time for them”. What can one say to that?
Without a solid education, these children are doomed to repeat the story of their parents and live as farm workers the rest of their lives. It’s a cycle that has no end. Clearly so many things need to change in this nation.
I invite you to watch “La Cosecha” and think about your own childhood. How similar is it to that of Zulema, Perla or Víctor? How does it motivate you to make a change, not only in your life but in the life of others like them?
If you are able to attend school regularly, if you see your friends and spend time with them often, if you are prepared to continue your studies year over year, then we have lots to be thankful for, because 400,000 children every year cannot say the same.
I hope you have a chance to watch “La Cosecha” and share your thoughts about it. We all have the right to reach for our dreams, however far they may seem. Let’s pray that these young farm workers also find it in their strength to pursue their own.