Guerricabeitia, Javier

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, ID
Interview Date: 

Javier was born in Gernika, Bizkaia in 1955 to Antonio Guerricabeitia and Felipa Arriola.  His family lived on the "Oloste" baserri in Munitibar, but Felipa went to a hospital in Gernika to give birth to Javier.  He remembers his schools, working on the farm, and how he earned his nickname.  On his own initiative and with encouragement from his mother, Javier went to Bilbao and Markina study to be an electrician.  He finished at 17 and joined the merchant marine, which had been his childhood dream.  He worked on the ship for two years, saw much of the world, and returned to Munitibar.

Back home, Javier worked on the baserri and peeled bark off of pine trees to earn a little money.  He called his brother, Jose Mari, who was working in the United States, to ask for help in coming to America.  His brother contacted Pete Cenarrusa, who found a place for Javier on his sheep ranch.  Javier left for the United States in 1976 and went to work as a ranch hand and cook in Carey, Idaho.  Determined to learn the English language, he poured over newspapers with a dictionary and enrolled in classes at Boise State University.

By 1984, Javier was a full time student and employee at Hewlett-Packard.  His dedication paid off when he was offered a position as a technician.  After he married and settled in Boise, Javier visited the Basque country, where he noticed a great deal of change.  He discusses the differences and sees that Boise's Basque community is evolving as well.  

Audio Recording: 
Learning English
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