I met Jose at the dump today. I was there getting rid of some stuff from my house. I saw him busying himself but picking up trash from around the oversize dumpsters. I asked him if he worked for the city but he said “No, I just like to pick up when I am here because sometimes the old ladies come here and I don’t want them to trip.”
I usually see some regulars here scrounging for whatever they can sell. I met John here in 2008. John is disability but can’t get a place of his own until his case gets settled. I don’t really understand but he has been here since I first met him. He used to work as a painter but now he gets buy collecting bottles and cans that people give him. He carry’s everything he owns in a shopping cart. Jose and John have know each other for a while.
Anyway Jose comes from Carbo St Lucas in Mexico. He still has family there. When I asked if I could take his picture he joked and wanted to know if I was going to turn him in? He assured me that he was legal and has been here in the States for 27 years and has always worked until arthritis afflicted his hands. He said he is waiting to get them fixed so he can return to work. He refuses to go on disability. He is typical of the Mexican I have know both here and in Mexico very hard working.
This picture is #35 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/”>100 Strangers Flickr Group page</a>