The Two Biggest Risks I Took in Life
                                                                Rosario Villarreal

      By just being human, I have had to encounter some risks in my life. The toughest risks that I had to face were when my husband, my daughter, and I arrived in the state of Kansas. My journey began on a lonely farm, and it was kind of terrifying, but thanks to God, we survived our odyssey.

        Everything started when we moved from EspaŮola, New Mexico to a small town in Kansas. At first, we came to my sisterís family home. We arrived in 1987 when my daughter was just a baby. We stayed at my sisterís house for only a short while because as soon as possible, we found a job. The job that we found paid very low wages. In fact, it was only $100.00 per week with housing and food included as a payment for my husband and me. The owners of the farm were Mr. Dean and Mrs. Ann. We worked very hard for these people. My husband worked there from sunrise to sunset, doing everything that was asked by his boss. For example, he worked taking care of the cattle, driving tractors and trucks, tilling the soil, sowing the seed, and cleaning the yard, among other things. Meanwhile, I worked with Mrs. Ann cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and ironing the clothes in addition to other chores.

      Added to all the hard work that my husband and I were forced to do, we didnít have permission to go anywhere. As a result, we were always without sufficient food. We just consumed three small meals a day, which Mrs. Ann gave us. She only provided a small bowl of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich or something similar for lunch, and a small dish for dinner, and my daughter who was only five months old, always drank milk because we didnít have any baby food to give her. Besides,  we couldnít go out, not even to take my daughter to the doctor. One terrible day my daughter became very sick, and we decided to get medical care for her. The snow had reached about 15 inches, and our car was covered with it. We started to remove the snow from the car, and we wiped it off as well as we could. However, the car wouldnít start because the snow had frozen the motor, so my husband asked his boss if we could borrow one of his trucks to get my daughter to a doctor, but Mr. Dean denied us permission to leave the farm and would not lend us the truck. He said that my husband had too much work to do. My husband and I were very frustrated and upset because my daughter had a high fever. My husband said that we were being held hostage, so he decided to get the truck and drive us to the nearest clinic. We knew that we risked being arrested and charged with taking a vehicle that wasnít ours, so we quickly drove to the clinic and came back right away. When we got back home, our bosses were very angry at us. They told us that we shouldnít have gone out without their permission, and we shouldnít have taken the truck. Despite all of this, they didnít call the police. I believe that very deep in their hearts, they knew that they were wrong.

      We were in jeopardy once again when Mrs. Ann quit giving us food. We only ate beans all day. I cooked beans for us, and I gave the bean broth to my daughter in a baby bottle. We did this day after day. As a result, we lost weight; I lost about 25 pounds and my husband lost about 20 lbs. Again my husband asked our bosses for permission to go out to buy some food, especially milk and baby food for my daughter, but they denied our request. They argued that we had a lot of work to do, so we decided to do something radical. One Sunday we planned to flee. We woke up very early that morning, and we started to pile up our meager belongings. We hid them in a closet to avoid being discovered by our bosses. We waited until midnight to load our car. We put most of the things in the trunk of the car, and the rest of the things near my daughterís safety seat. We just waited for the proper moment to leave that horrible ranch once and for all. It was about one oíclock in the morning when my husband looked around to see if anybody was awake because we didnít want to get caught. Then we began our escape. My husband started to drive. We were very scared about being shot because the couple kept several weapons. They had rifles and guns, for among farmers it was very normal to possess arms for hunting animals. However, Mr. Dean and Mrs. Ann never threatened us with their guns. Although they could be very stingy toward us, we never thought that they had the soul to kill us. They just didnít like to spend money on their workers and wanted to save money. They were just afraid of losing two strong young people with cheap hands to work their farm. Because we were treated as prisoners, we suffered from paranoia, and we were very scared as we we left. While we were escaping, we imagined them following us with their guns ready to kill us. We thought that would be easy for them to do since the nearest city was far away from the farm. In fact, it was about 50 miles away, and it was a very lonely journey. The unpaved narrow road was hard on our car. If they had wanted to catch us, they could have, and they could have seriously harmed us because it was the middle of the night, and nobody would have witnessed whatever they may have wanted to do to us.

     After all that I experienced on that farm, I will never forget the big risks that my husband and I took there. The first one was when we took our daughter to the doctor in a truck that wasnít our property and the other was when we escaped from Mr. Dean and Mrs. Ann in our old car. I am happy that nothing bad happened when we took the truck and even happier that we  never saw our bosses again after our escape. However, from this experience I learned that life in this beautiful country is not easy for any immigrant. Sometimes life can be difficult and frustrating and even dangerous for us, but with love and effort we can achieve anything we want to. In addition, we can learn to love this country very much. As for me, this country is my second land, and I love it.