Bilbao, Fermin

Daniel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Nampa, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Fermin was born 5 December 1941 in Arrieta, Bizkaia, to Sabino Bilbao and Eustaquia Ojinaga.  He explains the details of baserri life, including his chores, church, school and sports.  At the age of 14, Fermin went off to Bilbao to work in a factory, where he also attended many dances and played in a soccer league.  As much fun as he was having, Fermin grew restless and wanted more.  He decided to go to America to work as a sheepherder, and with the help of his uncle and older brother, he arrived in Idaho in 1961.

According to Fermin, the first year of sheepherding is the hardest, since it is a great challenge to adjust to the barren landscape and the constant loneliness.  Nevertheless, he did not regret coming to the US.  He soon went to work for a construction company, where he stayed 12 years.  Finally, Fermin joined Boise Cascade in Nampa in order to be closer to his family, and he's been there to this day.

Fermin married Liz Eiguren in 1978, and the couple has raised 2 children, Ysabel and Martin.  The whole family enjoys Basque cooking, dances, picnics and other social events, and Fermin and his wife have been particularly involved with the Basque Center in Boise.  He has stayed in close contact with his family in Arrieta, has taken many trips back, and may consider spending part of his retirement in the Basque country.  Today, Fermin is very proud of his American citizenship, but still feels strongly Basque.

Audio Recording: 
Baserri Life
Adjusting to Shepherding
Marrying Liz
Other Images: