A Look at the World of Migrant Farmworkers through the Eyes of a Child

Meet Jose Ansaldo. He’s the undocumented son of migrant farmworkers.

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Credit: PBS / Independent Lens

Although he’s been enrolled in seven different schools, Ansaldo is a standout math student.

Both of his parents work, which makes it difficult for Ansaldo get support with his studies at home. Ansaldo says there’s also a language barrier: “I have to do my homework alone because my mom and Jaime, they speak Spanish, not English.”

Jose found support from his third grade teacher, Oscar Ramos.

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Credit: PBS / Independent Lens

Ramos, also the son of migrant farmworkers, recognized Ansaldo’s enthusiasm for math and became his support system (and cheerleader) at school.

Ansaldo and Ramos are the focus of a new documentary titled East of Salinas. 

Credit: Independent Lens / YouTube

That doc illustrates the struggles – financial instability, cramped living quarters, gang violence – that many migrant farmworkers face while trying to provide for their children.

It shows what it’s like to see your father leave home to find work elsewhere…

Credit: Independent Lens / YouTube

And what it’s like for a teacher like Ramos, who can relate to many of his students, but can only do so much to help them.

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Credit: PBS / Independent Lens

It also illustrates how acutely aware Jose is of the sacrifices his parents are making to give him a better future.ansaldo-east-of-salinas-main

Credit: PBS / Independent Lens

Despite being an elementary school student, Ansaldo often thinks about helping his parents by getting a college education: “I try hard because I wanna help my family. By paying bills or buying food.”

Watch the full trailer:

Credit: UnitedWeStayorg / YouTube

Read more: East of Salinas on PBS.org

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