Not quite ready to return to your daily labors after the holiday weekend? Maybe you just need a little perspective.

Check out this epic article from the LA Times’ Sunday magazine West. It chronicles the plight of Hilario Guzman’s wife and five children, after the 32-year-old migrant farm worker dies unexpectedly in a car accident outside Fresno.

He had a job that paid 20 cents for every tray of Thompson grapes he picked and laid out in the 105-degree sun to make raisins. In the two harvests since the family left Oaxaca in the spring of 2003, he had never made the minimum wage, never picked more than 250 trays, $50, in a 10-hour day.

After Guzman’s death his wife, Veronica, and extended family are forced to band together and take extreme measures to survive.

The last time she went to the market, it came down to a choice between diapers and chicken meat. She chose the diapers. To stretch the supply, she washed and dried them and stuck them back on as best she could.

“This is the hardest it’s been,” she said, sobbing. “No work. No money. My part of the rent is $200. I don’t know how I’m going to pay it. I keep borrowing from family.”

It’s a long, heart wrenching tale that offers a unique window into the migrant experience and plenty of subtext about America’s labor and immigration challenges.


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