"I enjoy solving problems, getting to the bottom of things," says the 45-year-old father of six. "For me, this is never boring. This is better than a factory [job] or a restaurant. And it lets me care for my family. The best thing you can do is take care of your family. U.S. citizens think we come here to get government money or welfare. It's not like that. I get [assistance] for doctor's bills for my kid—he has asthma—but my rent, my food, I pay with my paycheck. I work hard." He laughs. "I have six kids, so I'm really tired, man."
Pacheco, who moved here from Mexico in 1995, finds a way to make ends meet while taking home about $50 a day. "The pay is steady. And here, my kids can get [into] good schools. This is the opportunity country."
Miguel Ramirez is not only a soldier. He's a philosopher.
Shovel in hand again, he and several coworkers are removing piles of dirt from the 17th fairway. They stop when two tee shots land nearby, in the fairway of the par-4 17th. Two lanky twentysomethings in white belts motor up to their balls, hit their approaches and drive away. One of them makes a crack about "an immigration situation."
Ramirez laughs it off. "The people who play here, most are very nice," he says.
Now past noon, the mercury inches closer to 100, yet Ramirez still has a spring in his step. He shares his philosophy on enjoying work, which goes something like this: You think if you have a good job, you'll enjoy what you do. But if you first enjoy what you do, you'll have a good job.
Call it Zen and the art of golf course maintenance.
"My father taught me that attitude is everything," Ramirez says. "If you wake up and think, I want to be somewhere else, then your day will suck. I wake up, prepare my mind and enjoy what I do. Enjoy big things. Enjoy little things. Enjoy the people. Work hard. If you like what you do, your job is easy. I think nothing is hard in this life. People make things more hard."
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