Emilia Guevara, a new PhD student in the Anthropology Department at the University of Maryland, began her work with me on this project in late July. We made several trips to the Eastern Shore to conduct fieldwork, including interviews with providers and community members. Despite the large number of migrants and immigrants who live here, there are only a handful of providers that focus on this population and their specific needs. We were fortunate to be able to work with providers who granted us access to some of their migrant and immigrant clients. On our first trip together, we met with a migrant family living in Mardela Springs. One of the many important things that we learned on this trip is that it’s really critical that we consider different generational perspectives of migrant/immigrant families.
Watermelon packing area
Converted barn where some of the farmworkers live
Emilia, Leila, me, and Maria
Leila and Miguelito by his family’s trailer
We also traveled to Hooper’s Island, a chain of three islands in Dorchester County, Maryland. There are reports of Mexican women housed on the island who work as crab pickers for Maryland’s renowned crab industry. A 2010 report from American University’s Washington College of Law serves as one of the few pieces of literature that focus on these women and the migrant workers that sustain this industry. We have yet to find anyone who currently works with this population or knows any of the women working in this remote area of Maryland.