On Monday, the Day Worker Center received a visit from Notre Dame High School. There was a large group of students in various Spanish classes who came to talk to and interview the workers in addition to sharing a meal. While I did not sit in on the interviews, I did see the effect it had on the workers.
There were more smiles. I could see people getting animated as they shared their life story, their triumphs, their hardships, and why they came to this country. I think that many times, while waiting for a week to get one day of work, some of the workers may think that nobody cares or realizes what they do to earn a living. They get discouraged when nobody notices what an impact they have on this community.
But Monday was different. Having the students come to ask questions about their lives made a difference. It showed that people actually care and are willing to take the time to learn about people who are different from them. Staying within our own social groups–that is easy. But making the effort to learn and understand someone else’s culture and lifestyle does not just change one’s perspective–it makes life more worthwhile.