– On Hatteberg’s People tonight, this is not a complicated story. Pretty simple in fact. We live in an interconnected world where people and countries are digitally united. But nothing takes the place of being with the ones you love. In McPherson, Ricardo Gozo is a resident of the Philippines and the U.S. His daughter Claris is a U.S. Citizen.
He lives in two worlds – with people he loves on both sides.
McPherson, Kansas is about as ‘middle America’ as you can get. And nothing says Kansas like a great vegetable garden.
On this evening as the sun disappears over a fence, the rising tomato vines tend to glow with pride. Ricardo Gozo, and that’s him, peering around his green tangled jungle of veggies. He’s from the Philippines, doesn’t speak much English. He lives six months out of the year with his daughter and son-in-law, Don and Claris Hobson. They have one 7 year old daughter Alisse.
“It’s an opportunity for us to be with him so he can see the life here in America.”
He can’t stay in the Philippines longer than six months without losing his United States Residency. His wife is still there…she can’t travel because of health reasons.
“It’s really special to have my dad here you know. I don’t have anybody else here like my family. All of them are in the Philippines, so it is really special for me to see him even though it is just six months.”
So this in-between Garden keeps him busy and involved in his two different worlds.
“It’s so exciting for him to see how big the tomatoes can get here…and to see his grandkid. We only have one here, but he has a bunch in the Philippines.”
In the Philippines, he is a fisherman, but in Kansas his hands are rooted in the soil.
“And he really likes it here, he says there are good people here.”
His daughter became an American Citizen in 2005 – in a ceremony similar to this one.
“He knows that in WW2 America played an important role in liberating the Philippines.”
In World War II when he was a child, he helped the Philippine resistance and the U.S. resist the Japanese Invasion.
“Japanese would stop him and ask him what is in the bag, he would tell them he had just harvested peanuts, but in reality it was a rifle.”
So in a lush little garden in McPherson lies stories of the past….while Ricardo produces food for the future….he continues the example that will be passed on to his granddaughter. Hard work and family is key, no matter what country you call home.