Sunday, December 8, 1991
MISSION, Texas _ Migrant workers' vision about the future is constantly on their minds when they are working in the fields.
They envision the day they can return home to find adequate paying jobs. They envision the day their children will no longer have to work in the fields. They envision having a permanent place to live.
For most of the migrant families who live in the South Texas Valley, their biggest hope is owning their own homes. To have a place of their own is something that makes them walk with great pride.
Raul Martinez, Jr., 34, the eldest of the Martinez children, and his wife, Iris, 26, travel each year to Oregon to work in Boardman for about eight months.
Raul works as a mechanic for Columbia Livestock, and Iris as an aide at the Boardman Child Development Center.
They return to the South Texas Valley when Raul's work is completed.
Although they spend most of the year in Boardman, and Iris has many times been offered a permanent job at the Child Development Center, the couple said they will never leave the South Texas Valley to move to Pacific Northwest.
``It's too far from our families,'' Iris said. ``I don't think we could ever be that far away from them. Besides, it's too cold up there. I don't think we could stand it.''
For the past three years, Raul and Iris have been using the money they earn to build their home in Mission, located about 26 miles east of LaGrulla.
The house is expected to be completed in another three years.
``The first year we bought the land, the next year we laid the slab of cement, and last year we laid the bricks making the wall around the house,'' Raul said.
``This year we're putting on the roof, designing the interior of the house and putting up the wood beams.''
The work being done this year costs the couple $3,000. They earned the money in Boardman.
``Next year we'll work on laying the brick on the outside, then the next year we'll work on the plumbing and put in the windows and doors. Then we'll be able to move in the following year,'' Raul said.
Raul said the house won't be ready to move into until 1994, when they most likely will buy their furnishings. The house is being built by Raul, his brothers and brothers-in-law.
Meanwhile, the couple and their 5-year-old daughter, Abby, live in the two-car garage adjacent to their house that's under construction.
Raul converted the garage into/j their temporary home, and Iris has it decorated comfortably.
They have indoor plumbing, and the garage is big enough for a kitchen with dining table and china cabinet, a bedroom complete with bed, dressers and television set, a small bathroom and place for their washer and dryer.
Having to wait three more years to move into their home is not a burden on the family. Throughout the years, they have learned they must work and slowly get what they want.
However, Iris cannot help but get excited when visitors arrive. She will quickly take them to the house and walk them through, pointing out where the various rooms will be.
The house will have three bedrooms, 11/2 bathrooms, kitchen and dinning room, and a laundry area.
Of the three bedrooms, one is the master bedroom, the other is for Abby, and the third will be for their next child. Iris is two months pregnant and is due to have her baby next summer while in Boardman.
``The house is something I've always wanted,'' Iris said. ``When we were first married, we lived with my parents. But then we decided we wanted our own home.
``So this is what we work for every time we go to Boardman, to save enough money to come home and add a little more to our house,'' she said.
Iris will also point out that it is helpful, and less expensive, to have her brothers and brothers-in-law build the home.
One of her brothers-in-law, Christobal Saenz, is a construction worker. He built a house in Mission for his wife and family.
``We all try to help each other any way we can, especially the young ones that are just starting off,'' Iris said.
``That's what everyone wants, everyone works for and everyone looks forward to _ having their families and their own homes.''