Saturday, September 27, 2008

Empanadas en Madison

Empanadas con sabor Argentino en el mercado de granjeros en Madison
   
Con solamente tres semanas más del mercado de granjeros en el lado este de Madison, Natalia Contreras de Argentina vende sus empanadas caseras, enfatizando que  para ella, es importante saber cocinar.
“Yo he crecido como la mayoría de los latinos donde siempre hay una señora que hace comida cacera,” explicó Contreras.  “Comida hecha con las manos y no comida hecha en una fabrica es algo que se va perdiendo.  A mí me sorprende encontrar tanta gente que no sabe cocinar, y que solamente sabe poner una pizza en el horno.  Es increíble.”  

Esta mujer de Tucumán, una ciudad en el noroeste de Argentina, vino a Madison para visitar amigos, pero se quedó cuando conoció a su esposo, Chris, un estadounidense.  Para poder estar con él, ella tenía que conseguir su tarjeta de residente y por lo tanto, se casaron.

Ella contó que si no hubiera podido conseguir su tarjeta de residente, no se hubiera quedado en los Estados Unidos, porque le gusta visitar a su familia cada año, lo cual también es una manera para escapar los inviernos de Wisconsin.  

“Hace mucho frío acá, y también es muy oscuro,” se quejó Contreras.  “Madison me gusta, pero en invierno me voy a Argentina todos los años.”  

Sin embargo, este año, no sabe si va a poder volver a su país porque actualmente trabaja como interprete en una escuela secundaria Sennett Middle School.  

Después de vivir ocho años en Madison, tiene un inglés muy avanzado pero dijo que le costó mucho aprenderlo.  Aprecia que esta ciudad tiene una cultura de mercados de granjeros y que la gente tiene una conciencia de comer local y orgánico.  Ahora, ella es parte de esta cultura porque usa los mercados como una manera de seguir con sus propias tradiciones.  

Dijo que le gustaría que más latinos hiciera lo mismo y viniera a los mercados para vender su comida propia, por ejemplo, mujeres Mexicanas podrían vender tamales.  

“Yo soy la única Latina vendiendo cosas en este mercado, pero me siento cómoda,”  reflejó Contreras.  “Pero, sí me gustaría que haya más mezcla de latinos y haya un mercado que uno pueda ir y comprar comida precocida.”  

Las empanadas que vende Contreras cada martes son o de carne o de verduras.  El martes pasado,  se pudo elegir entre las de espinacas y queso y las de pollo.  Se venden por $2 cada una, y ella dijo que hay gente que cree que es un precio caro.  Sin embargo, ella trabaja por lo menos ocho horas para poder cocinarlas por completo. 

Tiene clientes fijos que vienen cada semana para compran empanadas.  Laura Hewitt de Madison, que va muy a menudo, dijo que le encantan las de choclo y las de pollo.  Aunque dijo que son un poco pequeñas, tienen un sabor muy rico por las especias que contienen.

Contreras trata de comprar las verduras que usa en las empanadas en los mercados de granjeros y también usar carne que viene de animales no maltratados.  

Usa el estilo Tucumán para hacer sus empanadas y hace entre 60-90, dependiendo de las ganas que tiene para hacerlas.  

En el mercado, un hombre viejo acercó para investigar esta comida pequeña y triangular con un nombre poco conocido.  Vio a otro cliente comprar algunos, pensó un segundo y dijo a la vendedora sonriendo de Argentina:

“Como ahora sé que es una empanada, me gustaría comprar dos.”  




Empanadas bring Argentine Flavor to Madison Eastside Farmers' Market
  
With just three weeks left for the Eastside Farmers’ Market, Argentina native Natalia Contreras sells her homemade empanadas, emphasizing that for her, it is important to know how to cook.
“I grew up like most Latinos where there is always a woman who makes homemade food,” Contreras said.  “Homemade food and not factory-made food is something that is going away.  It surprises me to find so many people that don’t know how to cook, and that only know how to throw a pizza in the oven.  It’s incredible.”

From the city of Tucumán in northwest Argentina, Contreras came to Madison to visit some friends, but ended up staying after meeting her American husband, Chris.  To be able to remain with him, she had to obtain her green card, so the couple got married.

She explained that if she hadn’t been able to get her green card, she wouldn’t have stayed in the Unites States, because she likes to visit her family each year, which is also a convenient excuse to escape the Wisconsin winters.

“It is so cold here, and it is also really dark,” Contreras complained.  “I really like Madison, but in winter, I go to Argentina every year.”

However, this year, she does not know if she will be able to visit her country, because she currently works as an interpreter for the Sennett Middle School.

After living in Madison for eight years, she has very advanced English, but said that it took a lot of work to learn it.  She appreciates that in this city there is a farmers’ market culture and that people are conscious of eating locally and organically.  Now, she is part of this culture, because she uses the markets as a way to continue her own traditions.

She says that she would like to see more Latinos doing the same, coming to the markets to sell their own unique food, such as Mexican women could sell tómales.

“I am the only Latina selling things in this market, but I feel comfortable,” Contreras noted.  “But, yeah, I would like it if there were more of a mix of Latinos and if there were a market where one could go and buy precooked food.”

Contrera’s empanadas, which she sells every Tuesday, always consist of one meat choice and one vegetable choice.  Last Tuesday, one could choose between spinach and cheese or chicken.  They sell for $2 each, and she pointed out that some people think this is an expensive price.  However, she spends at least eight hours to completely finish them.

She has regular clients she sells empanadas to every week.  Laura Hewitt of Madison, who often comes, said that she loves those filled with corn or with chicken.  She added that although they are a little small, they are also quite delicious because of the spices used. 

Contreras tries to buy her vegetables she uses to fill the empanadas from farmers’ markets and also to use meat that comes from animals that haven’t been mistreated.

Using the Tucumán style to make the empanadas, she makes between 60-90 depending on how many she feels like making that day.

At the market, an old man approached to investigate the small, triangular food with an unfamiliar name.  He watched another customer buy some, thought for a moment and said to the smiling Argentine vendor:

“Now that I know what an empanada is, I’ll take two.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Super Journalist--Super Periodista


As a result of a biking accident, I am coping with a broken right elbow and the bulky cast that comes with that.  I am finding it difficult to scratch my face while reading, text message while walking and do various other multitasks that as a woman I enjoy doing.  However, my fairly immobile hand can't stop me from getting the story, just like the muckraker that I am. 

I decided that I couldn't let this injury keep me from fulfilling my fall internship at the Spanish language newspaper in Madison, La Comunidad.  So Monday night I took out my laptop and started awkwardly typing all the commentaries from the event "Languages of Life: Sports and Languages" in the Great Hall at the Memorial Union.  Then, because I can't write with my dominant hand, I used my recorder to get some interviews.  

I could have just called my editor and said that my broke arm would impede me from doing the story, but fearlessly, I broke, I reported, I conquered.  Nothing can stop me. . . except perhaps the kryptonite of journalists: apathetic readers.

________________________________________________


Como consecuencia de un accidente de bici, estoy tratando de vivir con un codo derecho roto con su yeso grande que lo acompaña.  Me estoy dando cuenta de que es difícil rascarme la cara mientras leo, escribir mensajes de texto mientras camino y hacer otras cosas variadas a la vez, que como mujer me encanta hacer.  Sin embargo, mi mano bastante inmóvil no me puede obligar no hacer el articulo, como la periodista de investigación que soy.

Decidí que mi brazo herido no me impedirá realizar mi pasantía del otoño en el periódico en español en Madison, La Comunidad.  Así que, el lunes, por la tarde, saqué mi laptop y empecé escribir, de una manera un poco rara, todos los comentarios del evento que se llamaba: “Lenguas de la Vida: Deportes y Lenguas” en el Great Hall del Memorial Union.  Entonces, por el hecho de que no puedo escribir con la mano dominante, usé mi grabadora para poder hacer las entrevistas.

Yo  hubiera podido llamar a mi redactor para decir que el brazo roto me impediría hacer la nota, pero sin miedo, me rompí, lo investigué, y lo conquisté.  Nada me puede detener. . .excepto, a lo mejor, la kryptonita de los periodistas: los lectores apáticos.  



Saturday, August 9, 2008

My experience in Argentina through the eyes of my editor, Laura Cambra

Check out her thoughts in Spanish

or English: 

Mentoring Carly 

by: Laura Cambra

Translated to English by Carly Stingl

 

Today, after almost 3 months of living in Argentina, Carly Stingl returns to Madison, WI.  Carly is a student in her last year of college, studying journalism at the University of Wisconsin, and during this time, she interned at Living in Argentina.  Being the editor, it was my job to orient Carly, whose objective was to improve her command of written Spanish.  However, the work that one could think of as merely supervision turned into a challenge that, looked at now, was not only professionally enriching, but also personally.

From a professional point of view, those of us who make Living in Argentina push ourselves to offer objective and appropriate information to foreigners about our country.  Because of this, the fresh eyes of a curious, enthusiastic and eager person like Carly is invaluable since it helps us to understand what the interests and needs are of those who visit Argentina. 

From a personal point of view, each time I chatted with her, we touched as much on questions purely grammatical or stylistic as we did on things like when we talked about this problematic and idiosyncratic country, where she forced me to rethink Argentina and revise the past and the present, giving answers to her questions sometimes as simple –or as complicated—as “But why is it mandatory to vote in Argentina?” or “Could you explain to me the conflict between the farmers and the government? or other things more related with everyday life such as “Do all the men really play soccer here?”

Some of the questions were pretty fun.  For example, given that Carly has been a vegetarian for the past 5 years, putting herself into a place where meat is not only nourishment but also falls into the category of national pride was not easy for her.

With an unusually open style and without any preconceived notions, Carly threw herself into conquering this chaotic and overpopulated city, very different from the place she was used to living.  She walked Buenos Aires from one place to another.  She explored bookstores and cafes.  She did interviews in the streets.  She rejected catcalls from the typical “Argentine machos.”  And she even got a DiscoCard to make herself feel like a local and avoid being the common overcharging done to most foreigners.

During her last week in Buenos Aires, our conversations turned to focus on our goodbyes and about her future.  We talked about the possibility that writing takes up a lot of time and space in life.  The next day, she invited me to look at her blog. 

We also talked about her desire to come back.  I asked her why she didn’t think about getting her masters here.  She looked at me quite surprised.  She didn’t think that her level of Spanish would let her get in, and she was not ready for the challenge.  But we investigated a little bit—Thank god for the Internet!—and discovered, somewhat disappointed, that they only accept 25 students per year.

“That’s so few!  How could I ever get in?”  she said to me.

I encouraged her to give it a shot.  Yesterday she had an interview with “La Nación” and something that seemed so out of reach turned into a very real and attractive possibility.  She was happy.  I was too.  Carly will probably keep working with us from the U.S.  The articles that she has written about our country, and more than anything, about Buenos Aires, show her enthusiasm and her passion for journalism. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Immigration in Madison, Wisconsin


by: Carly Stingl

Janet sits timidly in the shade with her husband and children, keeping her distance from the chanting crowd. She knows it’s dangerous for her to be here.

“I truthfully don’t know what could happen to me,” Janet says, “I think maybe the police could come and arrest me, but we want our rights.”

Janet, who would not say her last name and spoke only Spanish, is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. She crossed the border with some friends a little more than two years ago, looking for opportunities and an easier life. She came to the protest in downtown Madison on May 1, which called for workers’ and immigrants’ rights. She is sick of the raids of immigrants’ homes and wishes she could get her papers to live and work legally in the United States.

Her 2-year-old daughter, Kenia, and her 8-month-old son, José, were born here and are therefore legal citizens. She and her husband, both without their legal documents, are in danger of being deported, and she is terrified of what would happen to her children.

According to a report by U.S. Department of Homeland Security on illegal immigration, 75,000 to 115,000 people live in this state without documentation. As a nationwide debate rages over immigration, undocumented immigrants in Wisconsin are looking for a balance between demanding rights and trying to stay invisible to avoid deportation.

Living without Documents

Janet says that one difficult aspect about living without documents is that she cannot find a good job, but it is certainly not the hardest part. Her biggest wish is that she could visit her family in Mexico, and have them meet her children, but if she leaves, returning would be too difficult and dangerous.

Her husband, who works in a chocolate factory and barely makes enough money to support his family, cannot ask for a raise because there is someone else who would simply take his spot for less pay. They live in Monona, pay taxes and want the same rights as anyone else living in Wisconsin.

Janet and her husband live in constant fear, saying they are not sure which laws protect or threaten them, but understanding that deportation would mean splitting up their growing family.

Madison immigration lawyer Amanda Gennerman says this confusion over immigration laws and rights is not uncommon.

“Unfortunately, people have so much misinformation,” Gennerman says. “I try to debunk it and make it clear. Everybody’s case is individual. They are most likely not as informed on the legal aspects of what is happening to them as they think.”

Gennerman, who started her practice three years ago with a focus on deportation cases, knows that a lot of rumors circulate about what lawyers can do for immigrants in tough situations. Unfortunately, illegal immigrants are rarely protected under U.S. law, she says, and in cases of deportation she cannot do very much for them except explain the rules. When an undocumented immigrant has a run-in with the law, family members try to help, but also fear for themselves.

“If you have a whole family of undocumented individuals, they find themselves on alert,” Gennerman says. “Many people who enter from Mexico without any papers are extremely limited in what they can do.”

One such example is Nicolas Rodriguez[name changed to protect identity]. He crossed the border on foot five years ago looking for opportunities and tired of dealing with police brutality in Mexico City.

According to a report issued by U.S. Homeland Security, more than half of the 11.6 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. are from Mexico, followed by El Salvador, India and Guatemala.

Rodriguez, who lives in a primarily Latino community on S. Park St., says everyone has personal reasons for leaving Mexico for the U.S., but all immigrants are here looking for opportunities not available in their home countries. Ninety-seven percent of the people he knows in the U.S. are undocumented immigrants, including his entire family.

His family came to the United States one by one. His father, tired of not having enough to feed his family, first came to Madison where his brother was already living and started working as a building custodian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Then, Rodriguez’ sister and mother came, and five years ago, Rodriguez himself took the treacherous weeklong journey to cross the border. Now he lives with his parents, two sisters and his nephew in a trailer, everyone working hard to contribute to paying rent and buying food.

Although Rodriguez is not scared of being arrested and deported himself, saying it would not be half as bad as what he already experienced in his own country, he is scared of the resulting impact on his family members and the possibility that one of them will get caught.

“The majority of people are scared of what deportations bring, because it separates families,” Rodriguez says. “I am not scared for me, I am scared for my family, because I know that my mother would suffer a lot if they deported me.”

The family’s worst fear was realized three months ago when Rodriguez’ uncle was arrested for unpaid parking tickets and sent to prison because he could not afford the fines. On the day he was supposed to be released, the family could not find him for a week until he called from Mexico and said he had been deported.

The uncle left behind three motherless children, whom Rodriguez’ family will have to take care of.

“It doesn’t matter to the police who they are when they deport people,” Rodriguez says. “They take people without knowing if it’s a father with children and he will have to leave the children all alone.”

Yet, Rodriguez did think that his uncle was not careful, and as a person living in Madison without documents, one must try not to get noticed. However, he said he wished that some people did not treat him like he was below them.

“For the simple fact of being Latino and cleaning the bathrooms you are seen as something different,” Rodriguez says. “They don’t see us as human beings, but people who break the rules.”

He says he is doing a job that no one else wants to do, which is custodial work in the WARF building on the west end of the UW campus for five hours every afternoon. This job, as well as teaching dance lessons on the weekends for six hours each day, gives him enough income to know he will eat every day, which isn’t a luxury he could always rely on in Mexico.

“I had to decide sometimes between a pair of new shoes and food,” Rodriguez says. “In reality, I didn’t want to leave Mexico, but this is a much more stable situation for me here.”

Rodriguez does not think he will ever feel completely at home here, and learning English has been a struggle for him. But he is grateful for the opportunities Madison offers.

Deportations

Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) says it is unforgivable that some immigrants entered or are living in the United States illegally. He says he thinks this automatically strips undocumented immigrants of any rights and that more people need to be deported.

He says families did not necessarily need to be separated, because other members of the family could return with the person being deported.

“If we are paying for the parents to go home, you might as well ship the kids with them,” Grothman says.

He says that the problem is huge because the Clinton and Bush administrations did a horrible job dealing with immigration. Grothman is not against immigration, noting that the U.S. historically has admitted more immigrants than the rest of the world, but he says he does believe those here illegally need to leave.

“You deport people who are clearly a problem and crack down on some businesses that are blatantly hiring illegals,” Grothman says. “Then you try to bring people here legally.”

In the U.S., about 164,000 people are put through the deportation process every year, according to the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Gennerman says that when immigrants without documents are arrested in southern Wisconsin, they are sent to the Dodge County correctional facility.

According to a written statement by Sheriff Todd Nehls on Dodge County’s Web site, illegal immigrants who are arrested for committing a serious crime or a felony will have to serve their time and will eventually be deported.

He notes that his office works closely with U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, and says it is ultimately up to them if the offender will have to leave the United States. According to Nehls, once a week an ICE agent will come to the facility and speak with individuals in danger of deportation. He writes that his office does not condone those here illegally, nor those who employ them, and will continue to work to make sure undocumented people who commit crimes cannot stay in the country.

State Rep. Pedro Colón (D-Milwaukee), the first Latino elected to this position, agrees that people committing crimes should not be able to stay here, but adds that many undocumented people abide by the rules and do not deserve to be separated from their families.

“I have had grown men cry in front of me, asking me to stop it. You really have an emotional demise of people,” Colón says. “We go about our daily lives and we don’t think about it, but there are really miserable situations.”

May 1 Protest

On May 1, hundreds of people protested in the streets of Madison. Among the groups present was MEChA, the student Chicano movement on the UW campus. MEChA co-chair Ismael Cuevas sent out an e-mail to all the student organizations on campus a week before, informing them about the march and asking for their attendance and support.

He said some groups decided to participate, such as the UW Socialists whom he referred to as “cool-a-- white people.” But the toughest part about getting people to come to the event is that some students do not think that the issue affects them.

In response to this, Cuevas says, “You know when you go out to eat at a restaurant, you know who’s making the food, who’s cleaning the dishes, who is cleaning up after you? You know who is cleaning the campus? Well, that’s my people. That’s immigrant jobs.”

Cuevas, a Latino who feels particularly emotional about this because he spent his first 10 years in the United States undocumented, says he expected a big turnout from the community, but a smaller one from the campus at large. But he says some fear a police crackdown and this deters especially undocumented people from attending.

The march was calling for no more deportations, separation of families, exploitation of immigrants and workers, police oppression and racism. Cuevas says both documented and undocumented workers get exploited and many just want their rights.

The march started at noon at Brittingham Park where a crowd of about 500 people starting walking together in protest up W. Washington Ave. chanting “Si se puede (yes we can).” They headed toward the State Capitol, ending in front of the City-County Building. Representatives from several groups, including Madison Immigrant Workers Union, Campus Antiwar Network and the Student Labor Union, spoke to the crowd, some in Spanish with a translator and others in English.

Ben Ratliffe, a member of the UW Socialists and a December graduate, attended the march because he is angry about how immigrant workers are treated and he wants to support them.

“I think an injury to one is an injury to all,” Ratliffe says. “The way that we have demonized immigrant workers that come to this country is not only immoral, but repugnant.”

Grothman, however, says the march gives people the wrong idea.

“I think it [the march] is wrong because the leaders are confusing immigration with illegal immigration and there is a big difference,” Grothman says.

Some do not think that documentation matters, because those working in the country deserve rights. Marco, from Mexico, who did not want his last name used, attended the march because he wants equality for everyone, documented or not. He says that despite having his papers and living in Madison for 10 years and working at a production company, it is still his responsibility to make sure everyone has equal rights.

“All we want,” Marco says, “is the laws to be the same for everyone.”

Much like the magazine I am working for LivinginArgentina.com, I myself have been living in Buenos Aires for over two months and now feel prepared to write about what it's like to be a interning journalist in another country.  Actually, my amor of an editor, Laura Cambra,  strongly encouraged me to start blogging, and since I am her willing protégé, I am giving it a shot.  In this space I will put links to my published articles, post articles written for journalism classes that never got published and write about my development, aspiring to become a bilingual journalist.


Como la revista donde he estado trabajando, VivirenArgentina.com, yo también he estado viviendo en Buenos Aires los últimos dos meses, y ahora me siento preparada para escribir como es hacer una pasantía periodística en otro país.    En realidad, mi lovely redactora, Laura Cambra, me animó empezar este blog, y como soy su aprendiza dispuesta, lo estoy intentando.  En este espacio pondré los enlaces a mis artículos ya publicados, los artículos escritos en mis clases universitarias de periodismo que nunca han sido publicados y también escribir sobre mi desarrollo como una persona que aspira a ser periodista bilingüe.