Saturday, March 19, 2011


Downtown, Toronto, July 10, 2009

    In the morning the men would line up on the street at the entrance to the refugee camp. Employers would come and hire them for the day. The pay was fixed, five dollars for a day of hard work. The men would send the money home to their families. One day's pay was equal to a month's pay in their country far away.
    Mark’s eyes were deep, dark and feverish when he talked to me. He had been offered a job, a single day of work at a nearby nuclear plant. The pay was one-hundred-fifty dollars; the job was disposal of radioactive waste in a quarry.
    Mark was twenty-seven then and he had just learned that his girlfriend had taken her life back in his small home town. He decided to take the job as a punishment for having left her.