May 11, 2009

seasoned workers

I was down the valley yesterday on errands and observed, as I drove by some farm fields, that the Jamaican farm workers are back!
What I see from the truck are little vignettes, but the snapshots are telling: in a strawberry field, 4 men all bundled up for the wet and the cold, rows of new plants and mulch, the one white man pointing instructions... further down the valley at a large nursery white folks busy with seed flats, someone driving forklift, and there, 3 black men with shovels digging a pond or huge pit, knee deep in the muck with buckets of mud.

The work that needs hands out in the full rain, and long repetitious labours in the beating sun of summer. For the tedious, the laborious, those lonely disagreeable or lowly farm labours we have the "foreign" workers.

But here's the best kept secret - free self-directed thinking and attentive nurturance are intrinsic to the job. No one is as free as a seasoned farm worker.

Last fall, I was in Canning on a Saturday evening and passed by a cluster of Jamaicans in town for a saturday night: a half dozen bikes, a ghetto blaster and a party of a dozen on the corner of the small Nova Scotian town.
Whether the local was by choice or for lack of a party house I'm not sure, but I think it would be fun to hire a Jamaican for the summer just so this could possibly be the party house on a saturday night.

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