Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Orfa Noemí Soberanis González was born in Cansahcab, Yucatán, México, on March 26, 1929; she is the youngest of her eleven siblings; her mother was a housewife, and her father was in charge of several different haciendas; consequently, the family often moved due to his work; she was formally educated through the second grade, and she also learned how to run a household; when she was nineteen years old, she met and married her husband; he later enlisted in the bracero program and completed three contracts; they went on to have four children, and they were married for fifty-four years before he passed away.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Soberanis describes growing up on an hacienda with her family, including the different homes she lived in and moving around a lot; she remembers helping her mother run the household and making tortillas; when she was nineteen years old, she met her husband, who was four years older than her; he asked for her hand in marriage, and they had to wait for six months before getting married; she vividly recounts all the various details of the wedding, from her dress and shoes to the church and great party that followed; they lived in a home her father-in-law had given her husband; consequently, they were neighbors; he worked as a mason, but quickly became frustrated, because it was not enough to support his four children and wife; he decided to enlist in the bracero program; Orfa’s father sold his horses to give him money to join the program; after he passed away, they had to borrow money against their home, which worried her greatly; while he was gone, her family helped her and the children; with the money he sent, she was able to buy chickens, some of which she kept to eat, and the others she sold to help supplement their income; Orfa explains that when her husband returned, his character had noticeably changed; he was less of a rebel and more understanding and civilized; she thinks the program was good for him, because he was able to gain life experience through the different things he saw and learned about.
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Interview with Orfa Noemí Soberanis González by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1455," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.
Interview in Spanish.