(Dedicated to all those women working in the BC farms)Women come and work in the wide spread BC farms. Smiling and energetic they come from the land of Punjab educated, uneducated, married unmarried young and old all become slowly and slowly hard-working farm labourers! From the land of the five rivers soon women arrive to Canada they work in the farms every where. Many of them are attracted to Fraser Valley ornamented with sharp rich colours of raspberry, blue berry and strawberries. Brides take off their gold and silk come wearing t-shirts and jeans with soft henna coloured palms women come with holding babies women with pre-schoolers women with grandparents women with old in-laws and some with old parents and aunts and uncles women with large families. Women work around the clock their hands work non-stop in the fields of raspberry blueberry and strawberry. Women pick mushrooms cut broccoli and sprouts marshy land is under their feet under the rain of pesticide their hands get blisters their feet get swollen their eyes become watery they breathe on fumes and their arms, necks and faces get infected with killer pesticides. Working the soil they become soil. Women work day and night their hands work non-stop. Longer hours more than dawn to dusk women work and get tired come back with aching feet and hands when are taken back to their homes in a stuffed van of a contractor where they can not even breathe. Working women, labourers, they just work ! They come back home late at night tired and then they start home-shift – cooking for their hungry children for their men, for their large families. they wash everybody’s dirty dishes and do everybody’s laundry. Women take care of everybody – crying hungry or sick children Women look after everybody’s needs remain unaware of their own needs women go to bed vary late after everybody’s gone to bed and after making preparations for everybody tomorrow’s work and they have to get up very early before the first ray of the sun rises and get ready to go to the farms again. Farmworker women are brave- Zindabad!
Surjeet Kalsey (1985)