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Julio Ortiz came to the United States from Guatemala in 2006, alone. A trained teacher, he had earlier worked for six years teaching in three different communities. He had every intention of remaining a teacher. For 31 years, he had lived with his mother and six siblings in a small two-room house. Julio married in 2002, and as some siblings moved out and space opened up, he and his wife remained at home with his mother.“It was hard in Guatemala. I made about $200 a month as a teacher. I originally planned to work only two or three years in the United States, then return to be a teacher in Guatemala. But in 2008, my wife and my two kids were also able to comehere, and that changed everything.”
The Santiago Reyes family came to Washington in 2006. Aracely was pregnant when she and Eli arrived. They came to work in agriculture, on a raspberry farm in Lynden, Washington. Their first house was a small, drafty cabin on the raspberry farm where they both worked. The couple came to be with family, a common desire among those working on Washington’s berry farms.
Magdalena “Maggie” Orozco came to the United States from Mexico when she was a young woman. She met the man who would become her husband, got married, and the couple settled in the Pasco, Washington, area. Sadly, the marriage didn’t last. Before Maggie and her husband were divorced they had three children. Today, Maggie is a single mother and the sole provider for her children. Approximately 12 million households in American are headed by a single parent. Of those, more than 75 percent are headed by single mothers.
Located 25 miles southeast of Bellingham, Washington, the rural town of Acme is nestled in the South Fork Valley between the North Cascades and Lake Whatcom. In the winter of 1975, Linda Clow and her family moved to Acme and into what were two former bunkhouses joined together to make one dwelling. The bunkhouse-based house, built in the 1920s as part of the expanding timber industry in the South Fork Valley, is where Linda has lived for 43 years.