Oscar Ailon Mendoza is only 28 but he already knows he loves the “salt life.” He works detailing boats and loves his job. He worked for the same company, Octopus Marine, for three years on the dock and keeping the seawall in good repair. But when that job ended, a friend told him about El Sol, so he registered as a worker. He was hired by a Canadian boat owner who keeps his 45 foot boat in Tequesta. It’s Oscar’s job to ensure she always looks her best. He maintains the boat’s appearance so she is always shipshape for her captain. Oscar says he gets paid well, and has been with this same employer for six years. He enjoys the steady work and being around the water.
In addition to detailing boats, Oscar has taken other jobs such as pressure cleaning, painting, carpentry, roofing, construction, demolition, and a little landscaping. He’s attended many workshops to become proficient in all kinds of work to make himself more employable. Further, Oscar is enrolled in Plazas Communitarias program. He has a dedicated focus on learning the English language, and success is evident when he engages in conversation. Strong language skills also make him more desirable to prospective employers.
Oscar moved from Guatemala to Jupiter 10 years ago. He comes from a town called Huehuetenango (pronounced, “whey-whey-ten-a-goo”). Oscar chose Jupiter because he loves walking on the beach. He rides his bike there often, and uses it to get to his job in Tequesta. “It’s good exercise,” says Oscar, who also spends many hours at the gym. “I’m single,” Oscar explains, “I have to keep in shape.”
Oscar has two brothers in Kansas City whom he never sees but talks to frequently on the phone. He’s looking forward to seeing his 10 year old daughter, Adela someday soon. “My El Sol friends are my family,” says Oscar, “But I also have a big family in Guatemala I want to see again soon.” In the meantime, he has taken up sewing as a hobby, as well as reading English books and attending a Miami church on Sundays. Wilberto Luna, Job Desk Supervisor says “I chose him as the featured worker because he has earned a lot of points by being involved in community service projects such as Habitat for Humanity; he also takes code compliance workshops and OSHA classes.”