As part of an Insight series, MPR’s John Ydstie produces a sound portrait titled “Migrant Series, Part 1.” Ydstie follows the daily life of Guillermo Flores, a migrant worker in the sugar beet fields of rural Minnesota.
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My name is Guillermo Flores. I come from Crystal City, Texas and I'm here in Windom Minnesota working with double v Grover and not sugar bits feels. Guillermo Flores is 40 years old. He began working in the sugar beet Fields when he was 10 years old in the summer of 1947. Then he came to the Red River Valley with his father and mother from Texas a trip of almost 1,500 miles. The trip hasn't ended and the miles now number almost 100,000. In the early days, he was given a short handled. Followed his mother down the endless Rose taking out the weeds that she'd missed now 30 years later his five children follow him. Fergie Amo and his family this summer is a tenacious search for that final rule. The search is more profitable now than it used to be here. Most family of six workers can now make between four and $5,000 in six to eight weeks. But why does he continue this difficult occupation? And what goes through Guillermo his mind as it continues his search row after row day after day field after field. Well, I think about going to back to Texas but have some money. No, that's one thing that I think when I'm in the field I say well hope everything goes right because I want to make one as long as I say, I hope we get a good rain. So the girls can make money I can make money. So that's what I say when I'm going to feel the same. But since I say, I hope we can rest a couple days or 3 or 4 days rest, but sometimes I say hope it rains because not going to get done. this time Play some women have a nice day. See you in a couple days. But sometimes you don't get pretty hot days and I can drive you nuts to you discard, you know, but I got to work in 20 25 days straight. Then you can lay off work couple weeks. Then you feel better, you know because you know and my family we were 7 so if we don't work, Casinos card for 7 unit 7 in the family by closing and choose and everything now and when it's wet like for right now, we know by the time you get down you going to have another pair of shoes. I think that's a guy that knows how to do is what you got to do it if you want to make some money, you know, otherwise, he's a little and it feels somebody got to do it but I say it like that come here from Texas come here because I like to stay and I think I'm used to doing the sugar beet job, I guess because I like to travel to Reno because I said like that when I'm Crystal City I get tires on there then, come here to Glen Minnesota and come here and feel pretty good. You know, then by the time I go back to Texas, I'm feel tired from here and I feel go down there. Just keep me. Balance field morphine. Like I said hear what I'm saying right now is this crore? It feels like you just my second home these people here at work. We know we know I know them and they know me how I work and now I think we get along pretty good. Turn the short morning in the fields today last night. It rained. So this morning the Flores family started work at 10 instead of 7, but even though they waited their shoes and hoes are now covered with sticky black Gumball both ice cream to the mud and now it's time for the only break of the day the noon meal for this the family will leave the fields and drive the short distance to their house a mobile home near The Grove of trees that surrounds their employers farmstead. Inside the house, you can smell something cooking and the family sits down around a large table for a meal of tacos and Frijoles. Back in the field after lunch. The sun is burned away the clouds and ride the soil. The morning coolness is gone as well. We don't work in closed group. Sometimes I get out. I'll go ahead and sometimes I'll be behind so we will we not all together. So sometimes just when we meet we say how's things going or are you tired? How I feel or is he still can handle for another 45 rounds? So we can we talk to sometimes when we with me it's you know, but we won't be like working by the hour, you know slow then say we got to keep going, you know, because of that the harder you work this winter you get done and that beats the one thing that. If you want to work slow. And I'm kind of us lay around and say well then it's going to get big then everything then it's going to be harder to know. My name is Gracie photos and I'm a daughter of mr. Flores and I'm 18 and then I live in Crystal City, Texas and with we were here with mr. Grover. Kristy Flores is the oldest ever parents children at 4 feet 11 inches and 100 pounds. She looks like the youngest she wears a big blue shirt that Dell owes in the Prairie Wind and a large hat to protect your face from the sun because you small she occasionally falls behind the others as they work. Since I was little I told my dad that I like I like it here. I would like to live here. But like I said only that you can tell you what's going on over there in Texas. It gets real hard to work and nothing's you know, there's not that many jobs like where we live at. Let's just to feel work and then like my dad says labor in the Demonic can factory almost everybody comes over here and this beats all my friends and I think it would be the lights to Coffee. I guess I enjoy like my dad. I'm you know, I like to work. Sometimes I forget that I'm in the field, you know, I start thinking about school my friends and you should I write to my friends and it's about it. But then the next thing I know I'm there just working so easily singing or something, you know, just to forget that I'm there. They might die my dad start singing sometime. Moto E plus Do you get to nothing? Grand Theft Auto I do like it but you know like my dad he's sending us to school and I will let you know like to be somebody, you know still just working all my life and beat but then when I get married, maybe my husband now, I guess you'll probably be working as beef too, but I'm not really sure yet until the time comes like I started working with my dad around when I was Walt into I guess. And I liked it but I would like to be seen on be somebody else like, you know working an officer thing doesn't come and go to school cuz like my dad says it's a pretty hard job to do and I guess everybody knows that. I rather do something else but like I say it did I do for a long time and I had a easy job besides two repeats that I get put white Wages Funeral then I think I can wear to I got to do it I do it for sale. When is 3rd at 20 25 or 30 years already? So I think how to make potatoes not Guillermo Flores migrant worker That sound portrait was produced by John. It's the NPR station kccm in Moorhead with technical assistance from Rodger gomoll and Dennis Hamilton.