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Theme: Hopes & Dreams

Interviewee: Anonymous

Role: Seafood processing workers

Date of Interview: 2007 to 2010

Collection: New Bedford Processing Workers 2007-2010

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Immigrant women processing workers talk about their hopes and dreams and reflect on what their life might have been like had they stayed in their homeland.

Many Central American women are employed in New Bedford’s seafood processing industry.  These exhibits were created using excerpts from oral history interviews with 15 of these women.  Each exhibit is thematic and includes the voices of several women.  The interviews were conducted in Spanish. An English language transcript is provided. 

Transcript:I15- Well, if I would have gone on over there, my life would have stayed the same.  I wouldn’t have done anything with my life just continued to live in poverty, not having enough to eat. We ate beans every day, and sometimes there weren’t even beans. Sometimes it was just a hot tortilla with a pinch of salt folded over and that is how we would eat. . .  I would say that if I would have stayed over there my life would be much worse!

I1- I’d like to do a lot of things. Let’s see if I can learn English too, when I get tired of working at these fish companies. Maybe I could work in a place like a pharmacy or just somewhere warm for the winter.

I4 -I don't know maybe I'd like to have a cleaner job, but because of not speaking English, that's why you can't get another job and also because of not having your papers.

I6 - My goal as a woman is to be a mother, because all women want this. But for now, I know it's not possible because to bring a child into the world is a great responsibility. I want to cover my needs, my expenses, to be able to help my parents. I feel that I won't be able to have many children.

I11: One puts it in their mind that you came here to work, and you have it in mind that you have a job and it doesn’t matter if you are mistreated or humiliated, it hurts but in the end you swallow it. You put up with it thinking, “I came here to work for 2 or 3 years and then I’m going back”. That’s what we put in our heads to not feel bad.

I15- Sometime I think when I go to the shore with my husband and I think “Oh Lord, so many fish and thank God for them, we have our jobs, how beautiful is the sea, it gives us a life and allows us to buy shoes, clothes--true? You can even buy a handbag to match your clothes.  In my country, you couldn’t even buy a pair of shoes, and now all of those things.