José Bujanda

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Bujanda education was limited to the third grade because he had to help his father harvest crops; he started working at a very young age in his father’s corn field, his duties included irrigating, planting seeds and harvesting corn; at the age of 15 Mr. Bujanda traveled to Hermosillo to harvest cotton, soon after he traveled to Sonora where he was working as a tractor operator; before becoming a Bracero in 1959, Mr. Bujanda was working as a chauffeur and to this day that is his permanent job; Mr. Bujanda’s first Bracero experience was in Caléxico, California where he harvested beetroot and lettuce, getting a total of $0.90 per hour; he remembers waking up every day at 3 in the morning to shower and eat breakfast, which was always pancakes and eggs; for lunch Mr. Bujanda remembers eating ground beef everyday accompanied by a fruit; in 1960 Mr. Bujanda got re-contracted as a Bracero, this time he was sent to Salinas, California where he harvested lettuce; later he departed to Morgan Hill, California where he worked in a small farm harvesting strawberries; Mr. Bujanda remembers that there were always police roaming around the fields in case that workers started fighting; he states that he was lucky enough to never got sick, and that his boss was always nice in giving sick people the day off; after finishing up his Bracero contract, Mr. Bujanda moved back to Mexico where he met his wife and had 6 children; Mr. Bujanda declares that the Bracero movement had a negative impact in his life, stating that the pay was not good enough and getting fumigated every time he departed to work.