Lester is a long-time international farm worker, in fact he’s been coming to Canada for more than 18 years. He originally hails from Arriaga, Chiapas, in southern Mexico.
“I am very happy to be working here,” he says. “It has been good for me and more importantly it has been good to my family.”
Although he’s away from his family for almost eight months a year, what he is able to do with the wages he earns in Canada has made it very worthwhile. “Without this type of job, I would not have been able to help my children fulfill their dreams,” he adds.
Lester has three children, two of whom are just about to finish their post secondary education. His son is earning a degree in mechanical engineering, and his daughter is finishing up her engineering degree in community development. This would not have been possible had Lester not become an international farm worker.
Lester has always kept his children’s education goals and their future at the top of his mind. 18 years is a lifetime to be away from a family for almost eight months of the year, but it’s a busy lifetime that’s making a difference in his family’s future.
Over time, Lester has grown both emotionally and in his expertise at JC Fresh Farms in Southern Ontario where he feels part of the family.
From an emotional perspective, he knows distance can sometimes be hard on relationships, but for him, it’s been worth it. Today, thatnks to the internet, Lester is able to communicate every day with his wife and family. “They can ask me anything, and I am also able to participate in their lives too. We talk every single day, and it’s not just about how’s the weather? We stay close because we are a family, and we all have roles to play. Mine is just different because of the distance, but I’m still very involved.”
Lester also learns from his Canadian journey. “I’ve gained a lot of experience in different types of work and crops. I take this knowledge back home to teach to others.” With his support and encouragement, his wife has also become a leader in her community back home.