This article was published on the front page of the St. Albans Messenger on 4/15/2010 by Linda Collins.
Enosburg Falls- Sixteen year old Gabino Hernandez , a junior at Enosburg Falls High School, is one of the voices that has been recorded on a website featuring interviews with Vermont's migrant farmworkers. Hernandez has a special interest in the project because his parents are migrant workers on the Gervais Farm in Bakersfield.
The program is a part of the Vermont Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project coordinated by Brendan O'Neil and Jessica Noyes, a Spanish teacher at St. Michaels College. It is a collaboration with Vermont's migrant farmers to creatively share their stories, needs and wants with their community. " It supports migrant farmers in Vermont and Mexico," O'Neill said,"to create socially and ecologically just livelihoods for all farmworkers."
EFMHS Spanish teacher Olga Saldarriaga received an invitation to participate in the project and saw it as an opportunity for her Spanish students to practice connections with the target language community and contribute to the project needs. "I also have a professional interest, because it was an opportunity for me to reconnect with the topic of migrant farmworkers," Saldarriaga said," I worked with the Department of Agriculture through a Spanish course I gave to dairy farmers. It was also an opportunity for Gabino as a son of a migrant worker to express his voice about his community."
Hernandez and fellow advanced Spanish student Kyrstyn Ransom transcribed and translated interviews with migrant workers as a collaboration with the project and then Hernandez agreed to be one of the Spanish and English voices on the project website as part of his community service.
Hernandez, an honor student and athlete wrote his own introduction for the project. His parents Deifillia and Gabino Sr. work on the Gervais farm. "They work real hard to give us what we need. My father is a hard working man,"he said,"sometimes he works more than 70 hours a week but he doesn't complain. That way we earn more money." Hernandez sometimes helps his parents with the farm work and said his family is lucky because they are legal. " We do not suffer as much as the people who are not legal, it is much harder for them and more complicated."
In an interview with a migrant farmworker that Hernandez translated he quotes the farmer as saying his time is not his own but that outweighs the advantage of having a job." As long as I have a job there is no problema,That is what I wanted when I left Mexico to work," he said,"it is worth the suffering because when I go back to Mexico I will be free."
The interviews are featured on the project website at www.vtmfsp.org.