Armando Tecpile has a hard labor job at a dairy farm near Cochrane, Wisconsin; but that’s a significant issue for his wife, his children and his life in general because it is 1,800 miles from home.
Born and raised in Vera Cruz, Mexico, Tecpile sometimes works 60 hours a week and sends $300 to $500 home every other week to ensure his dream of building a house for his family comes true.
However, his wife, Lourdes Ramos, told Tecpile, “I’m not asking you for anything. I’m not asking you for money. We don’t need such a big house if it’s just two of us and the boys.”
“I miss my papa. I love him a lot,” said Aarron Tecpile, Armando Tecpile’s son.
Armando Tecpile’s story is just one of the many stories of Mexican immigrant workers who have sacrificed their home, their family and their culture to seek better opportunities. According to Under-Told Stories’ reporting, half of the U.S. dairy workers are immigrants from Latin America, and Armando Tecpile’s employer says he couldn’t hire enough locals to do the job.
Armando Tecpile’s story is summarized here based on the one told by the Under-Told Stories project, an international journalism outlet reporting stories not often featured in mainstream media outlets. It focuses on the consequences of poverty and addresses the work of ordinary and extraordinary people.
Under-Told Stories was created by “PBS NewsHour” correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro in 2006. This unique, three-staff project partners with the University of St. Thomas and “PBS NewsHour.”
Simeon Lancaster, Under-Told Stories associate producer, editor and 2013 ThreeSixty Scholar, said, “These stories give (students) a more global perspective and an empathetic view of the rest of the world in their early days of education.”
When Americans think about news reports regarding the rest of the world, they often think of stories about suffering and death. Frequently, the bigger the number of deaths, the bigger the headline.
However, at Under-Told Stories, the team travels to less developed countries, such as India, Morocco, and the Latin America region, to seek attention-grabbing narratives of ordinary and extraordinary people to humanize critical global issues.
“Climate change, that’s a big topic, and it’s most likely going to go over people’s heads, and go in one ear and out the other,” Lancaster said. “But if you tell a story about a farmer in India whose crops have failed, whose neighbors have committed suicide because the rains aren’t coming because the summers are a lot longer, that all of a sudden is a lot more relatable for people.”
The project seeks to touch the lives of many through the power of words. At Under-Told Stories, every connection is developed through personal narratives.
Not only do they bring awareness to relevant global issues, Lancaster said, they also generate solution-oriented narratives that restore “empathy to a world that despite being so connected, is still divided, and it also offers a path forward instead of just dwelling on the bad.”
If you are interested in reading more stories like Armando Tecpile’s, go to https://www.undertoldstories.org/.