One morning we hike a few miles to a nomad’s camp on an isolated island off Turkey’s southern coast. The hike is uphill, hot, and arduous. We pass the ruins of a Roman cistern and a dry-land tortoise headed downhill. After an hour the path levels out into a broad valley and we arrive. Only the woman is home. Her name is Hanife.
When we were young, white, and poor, we were handed dull machetes. At first light, in the back of half-ton grain trucks, we rode past the peppermint fields and the pear orchards of southern Oregon. We were strangers thrown together like dice in a cup. Some of us smoked quietly or blew the steam off the tops of take-out coffee containers. Others sipped whiskey from dented flasks or spit tobacco into plastic bottles. In ratty plaid shirts, torn dungarees, and worn out boots we looked the part of migrant workers. We would work twelve hours with half-hour lunch breaks that felt like no break at all. At the end of our shift we were older, more broken, and still in debt.