Today I feel a burden. I feel that I am the voice of two lonely hurt strangers. They were only strangers for a moment.
As I stroll along this great city taking pictures. I find myself drawn to take pictures of garbage and clutter on this day. Not sure why but that seemed to be the theme for the day. (see below pictures)
After taking the picture of the crumbling building i noticed a husband and wife couple, off in the distance. The were setting up their humble little post by which they could sell their potato chips and cans of pop (they can only afford to stock 4 cans of pop). As they set up I began asking them how they are doing. They responded in frustration (but very kind) saying "trying to make a living". I asked how long they had been here selling. They stated, "Well, we have been trying to sell for weeks now but everywhere we go the other local vendors tell us to leave. That is why we are here. This is the only spot were we are not persecuted".
It was a terrible spot by business standards. There is nothing in site. In front of them, open fields of nothing and a street were cars go whizzing by at 55 miles per hour (on 26th St. east of Ogden Ave.). Behind them are also empty fields and dilapidated and crumbling building (actually the one pictured above).
After a moment we began to take about how they both recently lost their long time factory jobs. Apparently the Bolingbrook company were they both worked went bankrupt. I asked if I could take a picture of them and they said that they wanted no problems with other vendors. They just want to be allowed to do what it takes to survive. We talked more and I gained their confidence. As I talked to them I remained positive. I told them that I will tell their story. For a moment they put their guards down and smiled. They said, "sure, what do we have to lose". They told me there names, "Gabriel and Gertrudis".
Right before I left they said, "well, you are our voice". I felt a sense of hope from them. I was amazed by how a simple conversation can be a beacon of light. I gave them my information and told them to contact me when ever for what ever. They both were very happy and shook my hand. You should have seen the looks on their faces before i arrived. To say the look of despair is to say the least. I said my good byes.
Unfortunatley I was lying to them. I did not reviele my true emotions. When it comes to my own struggles I remain positive, I see myself out of the murkyness. This time it was different. As I turn my head to leave, my eyes fill with tears. It was not the story that hurt me. It was the fact that they, as immagrants, are invisible here. They do not have the same resorces that I do. On top of that, they have their age. Their struggles is ten fold in comparison to any of my own.
Today, I am Gabriels and Gertrudis' voice. Let me be heard.
(below is a picture i took when i first got there, picture was taken without their knowledge)