Ciriaco left Honduras in 1991 hoping to build a better life for his family. Having been a fisherman, he looked for similar work in New York, Boston, and then Seattle. Eventually he spent ten years working for Alaskan fishing boats home ported in Seattle. He jokes that it was the same work he did in Honduras, only colder.
Ciriaco had a steady income, but he wasn’t just looking to get by—he wanted to get ahead. In 1995, a friend suggested doing odd jobs on his days off at Casa Latina. Ciriaco jumped at the opportunity for extra work.
Though he had never done day labor jobs, Ciriaco quickly learned to do “everything.” He built up enough business to stop fishing, and now, twenty years later, he says “I’ve learned to do so much here. I do framing. I do sheetrock. I do painting. I do so many things. I have a lot of work. Employers call me all the time.” He supported two sons in Honduras, helping them finish business administration and mechanical school, and he also supports his sons Jorge and Jason—both students at Garfield High School.
Because Ciriaco has maintained excellent relationships with so many of the employers he met through Casa Latina, he hardly ever needs to find work through our dispatch anymore. He’s often here early in the morning anyway. He sips coffee, chats with friends, and occasionally hires a worker. His wife teases him some days: “Why do you go to Casa Latina if you aren’t working?”
Ciriaco’s simple, powerful response speaks to both the financial and social benefits of Casa Latina: “Why can’t I come back to visit my friends? I have many funny friends. Casa Latina is like my home. This is a place that changed my life. It made it so I could pay my bills and buy my house.”