Mireya Loza


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Matiana Ibarra Quintana was born on September 21, 1929; she had one sister and one brother who passed away; her mother also died when she was only four years old; consequently, she and her siblings were raised by her paternal grandparents; her father was a day laborer; although she was never formally educated, she did learn how to run a household; she eventually married, and shortly thereafter, her husband enlisted in the bracero program; they went on to have nine children.

Summary of Interview

Ms. Ibarra recalls her childhood and learning to read at the age of fourteen through a cultural mission program; by the time she was twenty, she was married and pregnant with her first child; her first born son was two years old when her husband enlisted in the bracero program; he went to Irapuato, Guanajuato, México, and waited for fifteen days before getting called; while he was gone she suffered greatly; shortly after he left, their son became very ill and ultimately passed away; it was not until later that she learned the day her husband left for the United States was the day their son died; she goes on to vividly describe all the details surrounding the tragic event, including notifying her husband while he was still in the United States; in addition, one of his little sisters, who was the same age as his son, also passed away about the same time; Matiana later had another son, but her husband was not there when he was born; they went on to have nine children in total; after her husband returned they continued living with his parents; he eventually began working in construction, and they moved around a bit; years passed before he returned to the United States looking for work, and one of their sons even went with him; overall, Matiana suffered greatly when her husband was gone, but as time passed it became easier, especially with the company of her children.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

28 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1283

Transcript Number

No. 1283

Length of Transcript

21 pages

Interview Number

No. 1283

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.