AlizeeAlbrecht 100894731 Blair Rutherford
ANTH 1002 Matthew Hawkings
The Lions are people that keep their family close to their hearts. They were raised in the spirit
that family comes first and it is a part of their fundamental values. When they go to the United States,
they do it for money to support their family, to buy a house or a business. They always keep in mind
their parents, and wives and children if they are married. When they cross the border, they try to
develop methods to keep in touch with people “back home”. They keep contact through remittances,
and frequent phone calls but also through their network.
They send money weekly and try to put some aside to be financially stable for the future.
“During long periods in the U.S., the Lions spend considerable time and money keeping in touch with
their family members back in Mexico.”(Gomberg-Munoz 2011:49) The Lions makes decisions
according to their family, they are not selfish people. Everything they do is influenced by their
relatives. While they are working, they make sure their brothers, sisters and parents or wives and
children have everything they need; they use phone cards, which its market exploded in Chicago
(Gomberg-Munoz 2011:49), and even use computers to try and communicate with people in Leon.
“While the webcam works great, the family's only internet access is slow and unreliable that the guys
have yet to see their faces live.” (Gomberg-Munoz 2011:49) Despite some technical difficulties, the
workers seem to find good strategies to maintain a connection with their families.
Mexicans communities in Chicago are often made up of workers that come from the same
village, like the Lions, who all come from Leon. They create a strong network of people, men who
come and go, and help each other out when they can. They communicate with people in Mexico and
Chicago to be the first to know who wants to come work and who is leaving the restaurant. They are
the ones bringing people in and making them work in the restaurant. The network is maintained because there are always people who stay, who know the tricks to live in the U.S. and they pass it along
to their acquaintances so they can be successful too. Mexicans value friendship a lot and they do not
hesitate to help if they have necessary resources. They keep strong connections between members of
the network, because they are from the same rather small village and they all know each other and they
also know everyone's parents. Even 5000 kilometers away, news travel fast : “In fact, social
repercussions of failing to repay a debt can extend all the way back to Mexico” (Gomberg-Munoz
2011:53). Since everyone knows each other, if a member of the network is not loyal or lies and cheats,
like not repaying lent money, he can be removed from that group and the family back in Mexico will
know about it, because they keep communications steady between Mexico and Chicago.
The Lions go through immense risks to go to the U.S. More than 5000 migrants died while
crossing the Mexico-U.S. border. (Gomberg-Munoz 2011:52) Mexican migrants say they cross the
border to better themselves, get a better life, build their future back in Mexico and they hope during
each trip they will not have to go back to the U.S. Coyotes are people who help them achieve that goal
to work in a restaurant. They are people smugglers. In exchange of an ever increasing amount of
money, they illegally bring people to the U.S. They are a positive influence on the Lions because they
are the first step in their journey to go work in the U.S. The Lions hire coyotes because it is a safer way
to cross the border, and to ensure they get to their destination, they pay the coyotes and listen to what
they are told to do.
Il Vino is the restaurant described in the book, where the Lions work. The managers are seen as
good people but still segregate their employees. To the Lions, they are a source of income, their boss
and they give them the money they need and respect and autonomy they work hard for, so they are
happy. To keep their job in Chicago , they Lions say they win the boss over.(Gomberg-Munoz
2011:117) Further explanation shows that the management at Il Vino offers them great opportunities