Maria’s Dream

Maria Frias doesn’t want to work for anyone but herself. As she sat outside Orlando Latin Market on a bright October afternoon, she shared her dream of establishing her own cleaning business someday.

“Here, to work for someone else is like slavery,” the 29-year-old said, her voice in a sharp, matter-of-fact tone. “The truth is, working for someone else… it’s a very difficult thing, to feel humiliated when you do the work and the person still isn’t happy with you.”

In 2005, Frias left her hometown of Los Mina, Dominican Republic, for the U.S. Since then, she said she’s worked as a waitress and dishwasher at restaurants and hotels. She’s also cleaned houses.

Cleaning jobs are very hard, Frias said, because they involve so many details.

“Wash the windows, clean the bathrooms, clean the bedrooms,” Frias said. “Wash everything… everything.”

Frias said having her own business would be a big leap forward in life. She would be able to carve out her own schedule, which is important for the mother of four.

“I’m a very hard-working woman, I’m a mother who pushes forward,” Frias said. “And that’s what I hope for… to be able to fulfill that dream.”

(LISTEN: Frias speaks in Spanish about her dream in the below audio clip)

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