"Work here is so hard" - Interview with Ehab

Ehab is a street vendor who sells hot food like “chicken over rice” to people. He comes from Egypt, and has been in United States for 7 years, in New York for 5 years. 

I know him because I usually buy food from his cart and we usually talk a lot. He is a very kind person and he works in the same place every day.

Winter time, when we all walk as fast as possible to avoid the cold weather outside, I notice that most of the time, the street vendors are still standing outside and do their work as usual. This makes me began to notice this group of people, what is their life looks like? 

He lives with his family in New York and goes back to Egypt once a year. He used to be an English teacher in Egypt and moved to United States for giving his kids a better future. “No one knows what gonna happen, I just want them to have a better future.” He said he doesn’t like the job but doesn’t have any other choice, especially the winter is cold and he has to stay outside whole day. 

He always stands in the corner of 6th avenue and 22nd street, starts work at 7 am every day and works 12 or 13 hours. At night the cart has to be moved back. Good to know, he has free time on weekend. 

He has a boss, who has a lot of employees but he said most of them don’t like the boss. Especially him, he really doesn’t like his boss. He repeats a lot of times about “Work here is so hard”. He said, it is very hard to find a job, and even he really doesn’t like the current job, he has no other choice but continue doing it. 

I also asked some questions about health issue. And he said he has health insurance and it’s ok for him. 

The interview with Ehab was about 16 minutes. Because of the language barrier (both of us), some questions can not go deeper as I expected before but the information I have now can already let me have a general understanding about his life. I think I need to talk to more this group of people so that I can find some common problem they have.