Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
María de la Luz Saenz was born on January 6, 1934, in a ranch named El Caliche located in Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato; her father was a rancher and her mother was a housewife; her father, brother and husband were all part of the bracero program; the only education Mrs. Saenz was educated for a 6 month period by a private teacher, soon after her mother got ill her father could no longer afford to pay for schooling; she was the third eldest of 7 siblings, 5 girls and 2 boys; Mrs. Saenz had 10 children with her husband.
Summary of Interview
Mrs. Saenz describes her childhood as being very sad due to her mother’s illness and her father being away for so long; as a child Mrs. Saenz remembers having to help out her mother around the house as much as she could in order to ease her mothers workload; in 1941 her mother became very ill and was hospitalized for a year and a half, Mrs. Saenz states that her brothers and sisters were raised by her father and her grandmother; in 1945 her father became a bracero in order to get money to be able to pay for her mother’s medical expenses; Mrs. Saenz remembers that her father’s contracts lasted for 45 days, after the contract was over her father would return and care for them; Mrs. Saenz recalls her father and brother being contracted to work together, she states that after a few weeks both returned back home because her father had become very ill; in 1951 Mrs. Saenz got married to her husband whom she had met at a party; Mrs. Saenz states that one of the saddest day in her life was when her father passed away in 1957, she always thought of him to be there to care for her; after having her first child Mrs. Saenz husband left as a bracero for a year and a half; Mrs. Saenz states that she was always alone with her son and occasionally without food and money; Mrs. Saenz experience with the bracero program is very negative, stating that families were left alone, children missed their father and that some families were even separated; Mrs. Saenz meaning to the word bracero is that of separation and loneliness.
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Interview with María de la Luz Saenz by Alejandra Díaz, 2008, "Interview no. 1376," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.