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.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Service
Interview with Orfa Noemí Soberanis González by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1455," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.