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“El vivir en una frontera es algo muy bonito”: Stories from Presidio

Alberto Marquez (left) sits down with Charlie Cecil (45) to record an interview for StoryCorps in Presidio in 2023.
Hannah Gentiles
/
Marfa Public Radio
Alberto Marquez (left) sits down with Charlie Cecil to record an interview for StoryCorps in Presidio in 2023.

The national storytelling organization StoryCorps recently came to Far West Texas to gather and share stories about life in our desert communities. In March, they spent time in Far West Texas, partnering with Marfa Public Radio and Texture Presidio to record conversations featuring Presidio residents.

StoryCorps interviews provide an opportunity for two people to talk about anything that’s meaningful to them. With participants’ permission, each of the conversations recorded in Presidio will be preserved in the Library of Congress, helping to shape the narratives of this region for generations to come.

We’re sharing those conversations here, too: stories about everyday life on the border, and everything from immigration, to farming, to family. Some of these conversations are entirely in English, others are in Spanish, and some are a mix of the two.


La organización nacional StoryCorps vino recientemente a Far West Texas para coleccionar
y compartir historias sobre la vida en nuestras comunidades desérticas. En marzo, pasaron un tiempo en la región, colaborando con Marfa Public Radio yTexture Presidio para grabar conversaciones con residentes de Presidio.

Las entrevistas de StoryCorps ofrecen a dos personas la oportunidad de hablar sobre cualquier tema que les resulte significativo. Con el permiso de los participantes, cada una de las conversaciones grabadas en Presidio se conservará en la Biblioteca del Congreso, ayudando a dar forma a las narrativas de esta región para las generaciones futuras.

Aquí también compartimos esas conversaciones: historias sobre la vida cotidiana en la frontera y todo lo relacionado con inmigración, agricultura y familia. Algunas de estas conversaciones son en inglés, otras son totalmente en español y algunas son una mezcla de las dos.

La cabina de grabación móvil de StoryCorps fuera de la biblioteca pública de Marfa. StoryCorps está grabando historias de la región Big Bend hasta el 10 de marzo.
Armando Morales para Marfa Public Radio
La cabina de grabación móvil de StoryCorps fuera de la biblioteca pública de Marfa. StoryCorps está grabando historias de la región Big Bend hasta el 10 de marzo.

Lizette Rohana and her friend Diana developed a close bond over their shared Lebanese heritage when Diana first moved to the Texas border town of Presidio. In this conversation, the two share a different type of immigration story than those we typically hear about on the border, one about reclaiming familiar roots and finding community in an unexpected place.

Durante el último siglo, los miembros de la familia Velazquez se han mudado varias veces entre Texas y Chihuahua, por seguridad, por trabajo y por amor. Arian y Elizama hablan de cómo el Río Grande ha unido a sus comunidades binacionales, y comparten sus pensamientos sobre lo que significa para su familia llamar hogar a la frontera.

Imelda Brito (left) and Pedro Hernandez talk about agriculture and the role it plays in Presidio's community.
Hannah Gentiles
/
Marfa Public Radio
Imelda Brito (left) and Pedro Hernandez talk about agriculture and the role it plays in Presidio's community.

Dos habitantes de Presidio con una conexión compartida a través de la agricultura hablan de la industria, su importancia para la región

Don Pedro Hernández e Imelda Brito hablan sobre la agricultura y su papel en Presidio. También hablan del proceso de siembra y cosecha en sus tierras, de los animales que cuidan y de la pasión que sienten por su trabajo.

 Charlie Cecil (left) and Alberto Marquez in Presidio.
Hannah Gentiles
/
Marfa Public Radio
Charlie Cecil (left) and Alberto Marquez in Presidio.

Dos amigos, separados por una generación, hablan de sus lazos familiares, vida en la frontera

Charlie Cecil entrevista a su amigo Alberto Marquez sobre su niñez, cómo llegó a los Estados Unidos y la relación entre sus familias, especialmente entre Alberto y los abuelos de Charlie.

Norberto Ornelas (right) speaks with his daughter-in-law, Arian Velazquez-Ornelas, about his family and his life growing up in Presidio, Texas.
Hannah Gentiles
/
Marfa Public Radio
Norberto Ornelas (right) speaks with his daughter-in-law, Arian Velazquez-Ornelas, about his family and his life growing up in Presidio, Texas.

Norberto and Arian talk about life, family and growing up in Presidio

Norberto Ornelas speaks with his daughter-in-law, Arian Velazquez-Ornelas, about his family and his life growing up in Presidio. The two discuss the history of Tom’s Service Station and the candelilla wax industry.

During their StoryCorps interview, Melva Estrada spoke to her friend Christina Juarez about her experiences in the Army and as a veteran.
Hannah Gentiles
/
Marfa Public Radio
During their StoryCorps interview, Melva Estrada spoke to her friend Christina Juarez about her experiences in the Army and as a veteran.

Longtime friends talk about serving in the Army and experiences as a veteran

Melva "Denise" Estrada speaks with her friend Christina Juarez about her experiences in the Army and as a veteran.

Oscar and Ramon talk about their shared ancestry

Ramon Rodriguez interviews his relative Oscar Salazar Rodriguez about their family history and ancestry. Oscar tells stories of El Mulato and Ojinaga, México, reflects on the cultural traits passed down through the family from their Lipan Apache ancestors, and discusses the importance of oral history.


You can find the full archive of StoryCorps conversations recorded in West Texas this spring here.

Annie Rosenthal was Marfa Public Radio's Border Reporter, a role she held in partnership with Report for America. She worked at the station from 2021 to 2023.
Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.