After I finished la secundaria (middle school), I went back to my father’s ranch to help him out in the fields. Working at my father’s ranch was different from working elsewhere since I didn’t get paid; it was my father’s ranch, after all. We would only get money from crops and selling cattle. Often, I thought I was just wasting my time, but I was conflicted with the idea that I was essentially helping out my dad. For example, when my dad was alone, he had to do all the work, cook for himself and make himself beverages when he was ill. When I was in Nonoava, it was a great relief for him. The house would be clean and dinner would already be made by the time he got back home. Additionally, he had an extra pair of hands helping him out in the fields. It was good knowing that I was helping him, but I would always be thinking of something more. I wanted to earn my own money.
Sometimes, I would go to Aldama on vacations. I was tired of constantly working on the fields, and I did not want to return to Nonoava. I ended up applying to a factory at Aldama, and I got the job. I had only been working for two weeks in Aldama when I received a phone call from an aunt in the United States. She asked me how things were going, and I had the brightest idea of telling her about working at a factory. When she went to Nonoava, she told my dad, “Wow, Mirtha, your little girl is such a hard worker. She’s working at a factory!”
My dad was outraged. He yelled, “WHAT?! How can she be working at a factory?! Right now, I’m going to call her mother to send her back.” He was furious! I was very upset, so I quit working at the factory, but I did not go back to Nonoava. And, I told my mom, “If he wants me to go back, he has to come for me.” And, he did.
My dad took me back to Nonoava, but I did not want to be there. I could not earn my own money, and things were different. We had little money, and sometimes he did not have any money for anything. If he got sick, we would be struggling to pay for medicine or get a doctor. We only received money when it was time to sell cattle or sell the crops. I honestly didn’t find the purpose in selling cattle. Yes, supposedly one could earn a lot of money from that, but to what end? You just earn money, and then you invest that money again to buy their pasture or vaccines. So that they can survive the year. I even thought that selling frijol y maíz was better than selling cattle. We sold the crops and even had some left to eat for the rest of the year.
El Primer Voto
My First Vote
One of the good things I remember from Nonoava was how that’s where I made my first political vote. Beto Sánchez was nominated to be president of mi pueblo, and I really liked him. He seemed much more sincere, so I decided to vote for him. It was my first vote since I got my credencial de lector (voter card), and we won! Go Beto!
Vida en el Pueblo
Life in Town
I still tried to have fun in town. In el pueblo, there were several small parties. Someone would have a boombox in their house playing some music, and we would pay five pesos to enter. We had a lot of fun in mi pueblo since that is something we would do. If we wanted to have fun, we had to create something fun ourselves. Of course, we would always do this with permission. One of my friends would ask her parents if we could use la cochera (like a garage) for a party, and that’s where we had el bailongo (the party). If the batteries died, we would put some new batteries and continue with the party.
Haciendo la Decision
Making the Decision
I stayed with my dad for three to four more years. At one point, he became very ill. We couldn’t do anything since it wasn’t the time to sell cattle. I talked to my sister, and we decided that she would stay in Nonoava and take care of him meanwhile I went to the United States. I wanted to experience the United States, and that’s how the opportunity for me to come here presented itself.