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Many Threads, One Fabric: Vol. 4 – Daniel

Many Threads, One Fabric: Vol. 4 – Daniel

Here is my thesis. If you give it a chance, Reading will show you that “its people” is not the only way to answer: what do you love most about your city?

Marvel Ranch. Breakfast. While eating one of the restaurant’s famous “mini messes’ Tom, a graduate of an ivy league school shares his wisdom on the economic benefits of gentrification. The light that floods from the restaurant’s tall windows falls directly on Kori. “I have decided to move,” Kori says. “To either Philadelphia or New York.” Kori is a recent Reading High graduate who dreams of a world where people are driven by passion. “I wanna register for classes at a big university. And I wanna find a mentor. I feel like I have learned all I can learn from people here.”


Cafe de Colombia. Coffee break. A day later.  “Is that all you heard?” asks Alana, buñuelo in hand. “Kori announced they’re moving, and all you heard was: they don’t feel like they can learn anything new from you?”

Alana is a whole head shorter than me but can command a room like a 10 feet tall giant. But her true power is that she can pinpoint the fault in an argument 99% of the time.


Mi Casa Su Casa. Lunch. On Friday.  “My Barrio peeps!” The waitress welcomes us. “The usual?” Fey nods. Chicharron de pollo, white rice, and beans. “And hot sauce,” Fey adds as the waitress leaves.

“You can’t blame them. It’s the economic prospects. Have you found money to bring Terry back?”

Terry interned for us last year but left because we did not pay enough. Because of her, we instituted a wage floor of $15 per hour and I promised I would find money to bring her back.


Barrio. Coffee. 9 AM  “Papi!” Alfredo got his haircut right before his wedding. He no longer looks like The Count of Montecristo. “I heard about Kori.” He takes a cup of coffee with two sugars.

“There is not much we can do. The warehouse pays $22 per hour.”



La Granja Azul. Sunday evening. My wife loves the Mojarra frita. But I can’t eat it because of the fish bones. I prefer ceviche picante, to the point of sweat and tears. Halfway done, I get a text alert.

Daniel. I’ve been thinking about it and I decided to stay for two more years in Reading. But I need a change. Money is great at the warehouse but I feel empty inside. I want to use my skills to help out in the next 2 years. I am thinking about quitting my job and doing community work. I wish I could just volunteer but I need money to pay rent, food, and bills.


Mofongo Restaurant. Monday.  “¿Dónde prefieren? ¿La ventana?”

Kori’s seat faces the street. I ask for a batida of avena and limón. Kori asks for water.

”I am sure we can find some way to get you 20 hours, and there are other places that would love to have you for another 20. But it won’t be what you make at the warehouse.”

We talk about other things for a while. Their last trip to D.R., and my last trip to Peru. Finally, they say “I read somewhere that if you want something really bad, you should be willing to make sacrifices to get it. I want this. Badly.”

Outside, a bunch of youth pass by talking loudly. One says “We can totally do it!” Kori and I take it as a sign.

“And Then. . .Many Threads, One Fabric” is a novel community narrative project. One telling at a time we will be (re)weaving the living story of Reading to illustrate the rich diversity of who we are, as well as how we imagine the future we are creating together.

This project is funded by a FARO grant provided by a partnership between the Wyomissing Foundation and Barrio Alegría. Produced in conjunction with BCTV.

Logo designed by José Joel Delgado-Rivera, Public Relations and Marketing Consultant. A mix of threads forming the Pagoda, the Sun, the Trees, and the Schuylkill River.