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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Literary
  • Language:English
  • Pages:378
  • Paperback ISBN:9780996408806

Another Day, Otro Día

by Kathleen E. Suits-Smith

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Mexican migrant worker, Almarío Santiago Lopez, arrives in New York State to work for Peggy Stewart who has been running a dairy farm and taking care of her terminally ill husband, Frank. As weeks pass, Peggy gains complete confidence in Almarío’s work. Amidst neighborhood judgment, Peggy and Almarío are successful in maintaining the farm. After Frank dies, Peggy endures changes to her neighborhood and her life. Ultimately Almarío returns to Mexico and Peggy visits him there.
In rural New York State, Peggy Stewart turns to the world of undocumented migrant labor to maintain their dairy farm when her husband, Frank, begins to lose his battle with cancer. Peggy has no choice but to accept a stranger because she has already been duped by American farm laborers who are too often petty criminals and drug addicts. Through her connection with the milk company, Almarío Santiago Lopez, “Río”, arrives early one morning confronted by Peggy’s fears, prejudices, and scanty Spanish. After an uncertain start getting the cows to accept him, Río rapidly becomes a valued worker and trusted friend to Peggy. She learns a lot about Mexican culture and the shocking realities of migrant life in America when Río’s family members arrive. Hiring Almarío brings a flood of neighborhood gossip and criticism of Peggy. As she endures the hateful comments, even from Frank who opposes having a Mexican worker, Peggy acquires a new strength of character, self-awareness, and empowerment. Her feelings for Río grow and the realities of her compromised marriage become apparent. After Frank’s death more problems arise. The cows must be sold to settle the will. Peggy learns of Frank’s prolonged affair with a neighbor. Río announces that he is going back to Mexico. Peggy and Río grapple with feelings of love and separation as he leaves. Months later, Peggy visits him in Oaxaca, Mexico.
About the author
Kathleen E. Suits-Smith has a background in agriculture, education, and writing. She is a life-long resident of upstate New York where she grew up on a dairy farm. This family farm is now used to raise a rare breed of cattle called Dexters. After over thirty years of experience on the high school level, Kathleen is now a retired teacher. However, for nearly a decade, she has worked in migrant education as an ESL teacher, and an educational and medical advocate for migrant workers and their families. Information for writing Another Day, Otro Día was gleaned from stories Kathleen has heard from migrant workers. Kathleen’s previous writing experience includes advertising, a weekly newspaper column, poetry, and feature articles for agricultural and independent-living magazines. In 2011, Kathleen visited families of migrants who had returned to Oaxaca, Mexico. While there she was fortunate to see mountain pueblos where indigenous Mexicans have lived for centuries. Many of these mountain residents have now become migrant workers in the US.