I have a story to tell, a story about the right, the wrong, and the middle. Three months ago I was twelve years old, sitting in my room, staring on a blank piece of paper. I have a deadline…. I thought as I looked into nothing. A deadline I have to finish…. I didn’t realize until this year that there are worse things happening in work then a deadline, and if you were an underpaid farm worker, it could be a deathline. I still sat there, in my chair, trying to think about what to do. At that point I never realized that this problem about the deadline was easy compared to so many others.
As I said, I’m only twelve years old, but I still make more money selling my cartoons then some farm workers in Mexico. I get fifty dollars. It’s an awful lot for one comic about penguins every two weeks. While the workers might only get twenty or fifteen dollars in two weeks. Why is it this way? How can a kid be paid more then a thirty-year-old adult? These thought swirled in my head as I sat in school, thinking about the horrors of some of the farm workers lives.
I learned that for the workers in poorer countries, good food is the key to good work, but to get food they need money, which they get very little for their work. This means that they can’t get enough money to buy food, and so they get tired more easily. How could creating a four-panel strip compare to working in the fields day by day?
Companies build farms in poor countries just so they can get cheap labor. Is it better though to have cheap labor then expensive labor? The workers should get a living wage so they can come home smile, laugh, and not worry about money, so they can have a house, not a shed.
Although I’ve never seen Ivory Coast or any other place where workers could die from dehydration or food deficiency, but I can imagine those places from what people have told me. Before this year, I never knew that people could get less money then a thousand year. Try to imagine that your house was gone, and you had to live in a shed, or on the street. Then out of pure despair you take a job in the fields. All day long, eighty-four hours a week. If you can imagine this, you probably have a twisting feeling in your gut.
These are some of the reasons why my family buys food from the farmers market. Companies should look out of their windows, see the conditions, and stop them. The workers might choose to work in the fields from despair, but do the farms and factories have the right to hurt them? They should be paid wages that can help them survive, not harm them. This is what I believe, and you better believe it.