Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Foundation hands out boxes of food to Mexico City organ grinders

About 200 Mexico City organ grinders gathered on Donceles Street today to receive food boxes containing rice, beans, tuna, oil and other items to help them get through the coronavirus crisis. 

The food was a gift from the non-profit aid association CADENA, which helps communities in more than 23 countries in times of crisis and disaster. 

Members of the organ grinders union lined up on the sidewalk wearing masks, practicing social distancing and playing music as they waited for their packages. 

One said they suffer abuse and discrimination but remarked “it’s a great job.”

Another said organ grinders are often ridiculed by younger crowds who don’t respect their craft or the traditions behind it.

“I am going to be 18 in December. I started because of the lack of work and because my father has always dedicated himself to being an organ grinder. He has left me with many wonderful experiences,” the young woman said.

“If you don’t like it, don’t mistreat us, ignore us, it’s our way to earn a livelihood.”

Organ grinders emigrated to Mexico from Europe in the late 1800s and are commonplace on the streets of the nation’s capital where they work for around US $10 a day, although even that has been hard to come by during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Since stay-at-home measures were enforced, many organ grinders have abandoned the street corners they usually stake out to travel to neighborhoods where they play for audiences confined to the balconies of apartment buildings.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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