Community Portraits
Meet Adan

"I’m Adan. I live in Gouldsboro. I am from Morelia, Michoacán. My family is from Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, and that’s where my parents live right now—together with a sister there, and I have a sister here in Maine. I have three children, two boys and one girl, and my wife all here in Maine.

 

My wife and I met in Mexico, and then we moved to California—to Los Angeles. We lived there for 4 years. My sister offered me a place here [in Maine], so we moved here. That was 6 years ago.

 

[I like] the tranquility and the calmness here. And the vegetation.

 

I lived in Los Angeles for 4 years, and I worked in an airplane interiors factory and then in landscaping for 2 or 3 years. Then I moved here. When we first moved to Maine, I worked at a sardine factory—a sardine packing plant. After that, I worked in lobster, and now I’ve been building boats for the past five years.

 

A typical day for me: I wake up at 3:30am,  get ready for work, and go in at 5:00am. I work with fiberglass on the boats and make decks and platforms. I work for 10 hours, and I get back home around 4:30.

 

We don’t have many neighbors… there are only four  who live near us. We don’t have a bad relationship with them, though we don't have a good relationship, either. There aren’t very many Hispanics here, there's just a few of us… I mean, my children have lots of American friends, but I’m not too… [how do I say it]… sociable.

 

I think that [downeast Maine] needs more areas for children and youth. Like… a waterpark! I say that because that’s what my kids enjoy. Parks… there are a few here, but not many.

 

Compared to the city, it's different living here—it's safer for my children, there are fewer drugs, fewer gangs...

 

[One difficulty of living here] is discrimination, though I personally haven’t seen much of it.

 

[Immigrants] who do come only stay for a short time because the work is seasonal. They just come and go. There are a lot of Puerto Ricans here, and many of them are working in lobster, and people who come for the blueberry harvest stay two months, a month and a half... I’ve never worked the blueberry harvest.

 

My oldest child is about to go into 3rd grade, the second oldest into 2nd grade, and my daughter isn’t in school yet, she’s still little.

I speak and understand a lot of English, but my wife doesn’t as much. The truth is—the school that our children attend supports us. Their homework is sent home in English and Spanish so we’re able to understand it and help them with it. The school cares a lot, though I hear at other schools that families don’t receive as much support as we do from our school. At my children's school, there are 10 other Latino or hispanic students, and all the rest are American.

 

When we first moved here and I didn’t speak much English, Mano en Mano helped us by providing interpreters. I didn’t understand much of what was being said, and they provided interpreters. My wife took English classes. [...] I’m part of the group Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad.

 

Nuestra Voz is a branch of Mano en Mano. We meet to identify issues in the community, and then we work to solve them. The last thing we did was go on a trip to Vermont and meet with a group called Justicia Migrante. It was a leadership workship. We went for two days.

[Some dreams I have] are to complete my house in Mexico, and buy a house here [in Maine] as well.  As much as both are possible."

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