Yolanda

Yolanda Rojas Osorio, was born in Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico on June 20, 1977. Her parents migrated from Oaxaca to seek employment as fieldworkers and a few years later, re-located to Vicente Guerrero. Yolanda was only fifteen days old when they arrived. Both parents were fieldworkers and raised eight children – four boys and four girls. Yolanda was the fourth child. Her mother died in the San Quintin Hospital while awaiting surgery, about 18 years ago when Julia, the youngest child, was only four years of age. All siblings, except Veronica, are still alive – Veronica was a diabetic and died about three years ago. She was married but left no children. Of all the family, Veronica was the only child to haveattained a grade 8 level of education. All other siblings quit school to begin working in the fields.

Yolanda grew up in migrant camps and began working as a fieldworker when she was only 10 years of age. She quit school after she finished grade 3 when her mother was ill and she was needed to help at home with the younger children. She remembers her first job in the fields – she worked with her older sisters, picking bell peppers and tomatoes. All family members worked in the fields picking whatever produce was in season to help support and maintain the growing family.

Yolanda lived in migrant camps around Vicente Guerrero for 22 years. When Julia was born, the family moved to their current home on Calle H.  Erma and Norma Fennell were working at the Foundation For His Ministry Orphanage then but,Yolanda came to know Erma through a neighbour lady who would get clothes from Erma for the family.

Six years ago, Yolanda met Carlos Estevan Salgado, when she was 26. Carla Yuridia Salgado Rojas was born on November 18, 2005. Carlos,Yolanda and Carla live with Yolanda’s father in the family home, as he did not remarry after the death of his wife. “Papa”, as Yolanda refers to her father, is about 70 years old and still works in the fields doing lighter fieldwork. He earns 110 pesos a day and works an 8 hour shift from 6:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. with only a short lunch break.  In Mexico, there is no social security, old age pension or universal health care but under the new political administration, the elderly receive a small monthly pension. Yolanda, Carlos and her father all work to support the family. Carla will begin school in the fall of 2010 and additional expenses for her education will be needed.

Yolanda began working with Erma in the small clothing room in early 2005. She also helped in the camps with the kids – colouring, telling stories, giving out milk etc. Erma would make soup for delivery in San Telmo, Hacienda, Sinaloa and Rancho Martinez and Yolanda would go to the migrant camps with Erma. About three years ago, Yolanda began making a huge vat of soup for the San Telmo weekly Thursday ministy. The new clothing room was established in 2007, after Erma purchased the property and was expanded to more than double its capacity. While initially,Yolanda worked only as a volunteer, she has been on Erma’s staff for about 3 years and her duties are varied. In addition to taking care of the clothing depot,and making soup every Thursday, Yolanda assists in a variety of ways. She cleans, makes beds, does laundry and cooks for visiting volunteers staying in the dormitory, as required. She still goes on some of the outreaches with Erma on Saturdays or whenever needed.

Yolanda has been a loyal and long time supporter to Erma in her Ministry. She is reliable and trustworthy and continues to do whatever is necessary around the compound. Her cheerful disposition and willingness to help out in any situation, make her not only an invaluable employee and friend of the Ministry, but also a neighbour across the street.

Emily Toews

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