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Boubacar drives nights for Uber. Often, impatient customers scream at him and then leave trash behind as he ferries them between their office jobs in glassy towers and warmly-lit SoHo restaurants. They rarely tip. By day, he delivers food for a popular salad and sandwich chain, weaving his bike through Midtown traffic and making minimum wage. It’s better than the busboy and delivery jobs his friends have, where their employers underpay. And despite the hour-and-a-half commute, he sometimes enjoys being out in the rush of the city — unlike his wife who works the cash register at their local CVS. At least he doesn’t worry about her the way he worries about his sister, who cares for three children on the Upper East Side and is often asked last-minute to stay until late.

But, mostly, he worries about his kids, ages five and seven. He’s had to find a new delivery job every few months and is still never guaranteed hours. He’d been hoping to train to be a nurse, as he’d like to have a regular schedule, save for his kids’ education, and do work that feels good, but he knows he’ll never have the time. How will they learn to love soccer, or remember their native Senegal, if he’s never home to talk and play with them? And when they’re older, will their lively minds be overwhelmed by worry about rent and food for the next week?
More… “Imagining A Way Out”

Abigail Fradkin studied political thought and history at Harvard College. She has worked in immigration and economic development and currently works for the New York City government. The views expressed in this article are her own.

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The Lost City

On the way back down from the Lost City, I rested with a Colombian anti-guerrilla soldier reading a Spanish language women’s magazine by the side of the trail. I asked him to read my horoscope so he paged past the cosmetics ads to read from his lap that the stars were aligned for my emotional, financial, and spiritual well-being. He was dressed in army fatigues, shaved bald, and his gun lay next to him in the dirt. “Crisis,” he said in Spanish. “What’s crisis?” I asked. “Like a big problem. Crisis,” he continued with authority, “for one moment is magic.” I looked out over the seemingly endless Colombian jungle and pretty much understood him.

On the first full morning on the trek to the indigenous ruins of Ciudad Perdida, our group stopped for a side trip to a cocaine paste factory. We circled up around a weed… More…