Yesterday

26 Sep

So, I mentioned that we’re now tutoring the few students we have left at a local neighborhood center. What I didn’t mention is that this Neighborhood Center is for the low-income housing project of Napa. This consists of a couple extensive apartment complexes with cheap rent (Lupé, who runs the Neighborhood Center, says rent is around $500 a month for a two bedroom place). They look like nice apartments, and at first glance it’s a pretty cool thing for Napa to do.
Then I learned a bit more from Lupé.
Most of the people who live here work at the vineyards, where they don’t get paid much (that’s a nice way of saying they get paid shit). And who pays for the low-income housing project of Napa? The Valley Wine Auction, a local non-profit which gets all its money from auctioning wine. It gets all this wine, (as well as donations I think) for free, from the vineyards that pay shit to their employees.
The Vineyards are basically paying for their servant’s quarters. The vineyard workers can’t afford to live anywhere else, and can’t get jobs anywhere else. The vineyards could pay them more, but then they might lose their employees when they move away, so instead they support the low-income housing project.
And that’s only the first fucked up thing I’ve learned about this situation in the last two days.
Yesterday I’m helping this shy young girl (I think she was in 7th grade, which puts her at 8 yrs. old?) with her Language Arts homework. They’re apparently learning how to recognize important events in a story and make an outline of them. Her homework was to take the story they read in class and make an outline of the important events and then storyboard them.
The story they read in class, as she told it to me, goes like this:
There is a family from Mexico now living in their nice, new house in America. They’re happy, and the dad goes and gets a job working at the vineyards. Unfortunately though, it turns out that he doesn’t get paid all that well working there, and they end up not being able to afford the house. So they all get in a truck and move back to Mexico. There they find a nice, new, cheaper house, move in, and are happy.
The end.
I’m serious, that’s the story they’re reading and studying in 7th grade Language Arts class in Napa. Some kind of not-so-subtle anti-immigrant propaganda? Some kind of subversive anti-vineyard lesson? Anti-American? All of the above?

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3 Responses to “Yesterday”

  1. darksun2 September 27, 2006 at 2:47 pm #

    that’s . . . unsettling.
    one depressing thing after the other these days, innit?

  2. kirawen September 27, 2006 at 5:46 pm #

    7th grade would be about 12 years old ^^;;;
    Anyway, shit. It’s mind boggling that situations like that still exist in America. Or in the world, period. ::shakes head:: Well, now you have a situation you can focus on working to improve.

  3. sparklydictator September 27, 2006 at 6:33 pm #

    that’s fucked up in so many ways…
    and if she’s in 7th grade… she’s probably 11-12

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