Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ramon Valencia was born in Bacadehuachi, Sonora, Mexico in 1937; His father left him when he was a child; He and his four brothers started working at a very young age carrying firewood; he only received four years of education; his mother worked doing laundry and any job she could find; his mother gave them sustenance until they were able to find a job. When he was nineteen years old, he became a bracero; he worked in the orchards of lemon, orange and strawberry in Ventura, California.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Valencia traveled to Empalme, Sonora to begin the hiring process for the Bracero Program carrying his birth certificate and school records. After waiting about twenty days in Empalme, he went to Benjamin Gil in order to take the train to Mexicali. The next step in the process was to travel to El Centro, California. Then in El Centro, California, the authorities conducted medical tests on the applicants. Finally, Mr. Valencia took a bus to Ventura California and started working in a little town named Saticoy. Mr. Valencia worked on the orchards of lemon, orange and strawberry earning salary was from $0.80 cents to $1.00 dollar per hour. Sometimes he worked in the kitchens and was paid with food. Doing that, he saved $24.50 dollars every fifteen days. Sometimes the experiences were bad. However, his bosses never abused him in any way. They supported and treated him in a friendly way. With effort and hard work, he got more opportunities for his family and himself and found a better life for both.
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Interview with Ramón Valencia by Anaís Acosta, 2008, "Interview no. 1381," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.