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  • Samantha Patschke

Day 39 – These are the people we serve.

There was a woman where I worked, she would walk 30 min to catch the bus.

After waking up at 4 to make breakfast and pack lunch for her family.

After laying out clothing for each member, making sure everyone clothes were clean and neat.

After a quick sweep of the floor, she was out the door to start that walk. Rain or shine.

She would get on her bus that took an hour to get to work. That time on the bus was her alone time.

Sometimes she would fall asleep. She was tired… you know.

She would get to work. A nicely lit environment, airconditioned and music blaring. Time for action.

She would sit down at her machine and get to work.

Looking up at the goal she felt the pressure. She was a little older than the rest, a little slower.

Break time came and she continued to work. She didn’t want to be the reason the group didn’t make their bonus again today.

Another 3 hours past.

It was now lunch time. She took her lunch, usually packed in a tight, small, neat package, wrapped in a supermarket bag.

She didn’t heat it up, the line at the microwave was too long.

She opened it up. A half a cup of white rice, a half a cup of black beans, a chicken leg and two tortillas always placed carefully on top of the whole meal to keep the food warm and to not let them get soggy.

She splurged every day to buy herself a Coca-Cola, a habit she had developed since childhood. It lifted her spirits and made her feel whole. She finished her meal slurping down the sugary drink.

Back to work. Her 30 min lunch was over.

4 more hours until work was over.

4 o’clock came around, her boss came by and respectfully asked her to stay for 2 extra hours of overtime.

She reminded her boss that she had three children waiting at home and her bus drive was 1 hour.

Her boss remined her that over time was paid double, and she probably needed the money.

She reminded her boss that the neighborhood where she lived was not safe at night and that if she stayed, she would be arriving in complete darkness and still have to walk 30 min from the bus stop to her house.

Her boss, another woman just like her, reminded her that the goal was off and that her operation was the bottle neck.

She stayed.

Leaving at 6 was normal but sometimes it felt heavy.

1 hour bus ride home.

30 min walk from bus to home.

She arrived 7:30 at night in the cover of darkness.

She got home and the house was oddly quiet.

She took advantage of the time and sat down on her worn down sofa and took a quick nap.

8:00 o’clock her children arrive home from playing with their friends at the park down the street and gently awaken her.

Mom, I’m hungry.

She gets up, accepting her duty, with a heart full of love and makes dinner for her family.

She’s tired. It’s time for bed. A quick cold shower.

A faithful, powerful prayer before bed and she sleeps like a baby all night.

If you asked her what she needed, how she was of how she felt:

She only ever needed something for her children.

She was always good.

She felt eternally blessed.

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