People en Español

Yesterday I was waiting in line at Wal-Mart (Ben & Jerry's attack) when I noticed a new addition to the magazine rack: People en Español. Yet another sign of our changing demographic. There have been lots of Hispanic migrant workers just south of here, in Adams County, for many years. (Asun helps out in some clinics they have for the workers, and will soon be bringing her students along, continuing an initiative started by a colleague who is on sabbatical this year.) But there was not a noticeable Hispanic presence in Carlisle until much more recently. The change was subtle and I first noticed it about three years ago in... Wal-Mart. Clearly the local management has noticed the change too. I'm curious about the degree of overlap between the migrant worker community in Adams county and the more recent immigrants who came to provide cheap labor for the construction and service industries. This latter group is much more visible to the general population, at least in this area. Not many people make it out to the orchards and actually witness the hard labor that very few are willing to perform. And who among us witnesses the work in the slaughterhouses? And of course, we don't see the conditions of extreme poverty in Mexico or Guatemala these workers are fleeing in the first place.
I was thinking about that earlier this morning: Carlisle is our little bubble, for the most part, a very pleasant environment. I always get that notion, for example, when I'm in the Dickinson library. Wow! It's a little piece of heaven.

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