Transcript - "It Always Provided: Dayana and Mireya"

Dayana Ruiz: This is Dayana Ruiz. We’re here in Quincy, Washington. And I’m here with Mireya Camacho.

Mireya Camacho: So like Dayana previously said, my name is Mireya Camacho. I’m 21 and I am from -- I was born and raised in Quincy Washington. I am now a student at the University of Washington, and I am actually pursuing a degree in education, communities and organizations. My goal is to work as a Migrant Student Specialist, or a Migrant Advisor. Coming from a family that’s been in the ag industry, and as a laborer and as a worker, I’ve been able, I guess I’ve been able to value what I have a lot more, and I have been able to appreciate what my parents – I guess – be more grateful for everything that my parents have given us and everything they have provided. And I remember growing up, and they’d always be like, ‘you have to go to college so you don’t end up like us.’ So they always think that you going to college is your way out of poverty. I think that for them it’s just the satisfaction of knowing that their sacrifices have paid off. But it’s financially burdening on myself, because sometimes, you know, it isn’t enough, and I don’t want to bother them when I know it’s – that what they make isn’t even enough for them sometimes, you know? So it’s just going to stress them out more if I let them know I’m struggling.

DR: I so resonate with almost everything you said, like, from being a college student, like that guilt you kind of carry but also that motivation to just push whatever kind of invisible boundary has been there or been placed on us. Both my parents, they were working in the fields, but back when I was a sophomore in high school, actually, that year there was a local vegetable company that decided it needed to downsize, and the parameters to let go of people were they had to know English. And so that disqualified both my parents, and in that season you’d see people walking in the middle of the day, like they didn’t know what to do. I’m sure more people were drinking, and just the depression and anxiety. You saw people pick up their trailers and move away because there was no more work here. And that to me was the first experience I ever had of like a deep poverty, where I couldn’t really join any clubs in high school. Like even the five dollars for drama club; I couldn’t join because I couldn’t pay! Even five dollars, I’m like, well, I either choose food or I choose that. So your parents were very – they held at a very high priority any kind of disruption, any kind of interference with your education, right? So you guys were prioritized. So that means you would also spend a lot of time away from your dad and your parents being split up.

MC: Yeah. The amount of things my mom has missed out because of them needing – both of my parents – because of them needing to provide is something I always say I don’t want to do as a mom.

DR: Could you explain that, like, because that’s something specific to like, kids that come from farm working families, right? Like the schedules and all that. As a student, how would that make you different?

MC: You know, we’d be performing, or we’d be – if it was a concert, a music concert, we’d be done performing, and the entire time you’re performing but you’re looking to see if you can see your parents among the crowd. And I guess you deep inside you already know they’re not going to be there because 2 pm and they’re clearly working, it’s like, midday for them at that point. But there’s still always that expectation and then there’s always that little letdown feeling of like, ‘I knew that they weren’t going to be here.’ So it’s really disappointing. One of the things that I always, you know, when I was waking up at four in the morning, once I was working individual, not helping my parents, but going out and looking for jobs for myself, as a checker or a picker, or whatever, was that sometimes I’d complain, and I’d be like, ‘wow, I can’t go boating, or I can’t go and do these things with my friends because I’m working and I’m getting up at four in the morning.’ And my dad would always shut it down, and he’d be like – immediately, and he’d always tell me, ‘if you don’t succeed in college, because you never know what’s going to happen, you will know you are not useless, like, you’ve learned how to work, and you’ve learned how to work the hard way.’ When I reflected on that, I guess, it was their way of telling me that if I didn’t finish, that was going to be my future, but I knew how to do it. And it always provided, even if it didn’t provide in abundance, it provided.