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May 11, 2007

A Tale of Two Cities

Rich City vs Poor City

Photo Credit: Andrew Hetherington

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Gradually they built up a clientele, and they now earn about $16,000 a year making couches in the narrow, concrete-floored workshop beside their house. "We still work every day of the week, but we're finally seeing the payoff," says Sanchez.

Two years ago, they bought one of the nicest houses on the block, a three bedroom prefab home. Sanchez decorated rooms with gilt mirrors and landscape prints and planted an avocado tree in the front yard.

Like many immigrants, she wants nothing more than to give her children the same opportunities as wealthier Americans, even if it takes negotiating.

When her eldest children--Sarayma, 15, and Eric, 13--expressed an interest in karate, she arranged to have them cut the grass outside the instructor's martial-arts studio once a week in exchange for discounted lessons.

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