Faustino Martínez

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Martínez briefly recalls his childhood and the work that his father and mother did; he was in his hometown when he heard about the bracero program; he decided to enlist in the bracero program and went through the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; he was stripped and medically examined; he details the harsh conditions he and other men endured while waiting there; he was sent by train to Mexicali; upon crossing into the United States, he was deloused and so were his luggage and clothing; he travelled by Greyhound bus to his first contract in the San Joaquin Valley, California in May of 1957; he returned to Mexicali and contracted to go to the Imperial Valley where he worked in the carrot fields; he became ill and was sent to the hospital; his next contract was in Holtville, California where he worked with a short-handled hoe in the lettuce fields; he states that they were forced to remain hunched over while working; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, payments, deductions, remittances to his parents, treatment, correspondence and recreational activities; he recalls that in El Centro, they closed the camp during Holy Week and the braceros were left without food; they complained and the contractor was no longer allowed to contract braceros; some braceros would go dancing and drinking on the weekends; he met his wife in Mexicali after his last contract; he and his wife had eight children; with the help of his boss he became a U.S. resident.