Missing Home, and LHIP Duties at Homestead

Hello once again! It has been three weeks since I arrived at Homestead, and though it was a bit difficult at first I now feel more comfortable and confident in my new surroundings.

One of the biggest challenges I faced in my first few days here in Nebraska was the homesickness I felt for my beloved home state of Arizona. For the first time in my life, I was 1,200 miles away from my family and friends in a state where I knew no one. The landscape, weather, culture, and even the time zone was different, leaving me feeling a bit lost. As a result, my first few days at Homestead were definitely the hardest. However, as I got to know the park and once I established a routine, the transition became much more bearable. Additionally, the quarters in which I am staying in are on the park’s property right next to the building in which I do most of my work, which makes commuting very easy. I was also given my project right away, which gave my a sense of purpose from the get-go.

The aspect of this internship that has made this experience the most accommodating, however, has definitely been the people who work here at Homestead. The park rangers, management, volunteers and the maintenance staff have all been super understanding and nice to me, which has made me feel a lot more comfortable and made it easier to adapt to my new surroundings. They answer my questions, help me find the things I need, and let me talk about my home when I miss it too much. They have even invited me to hang out with them outside of work hours, which I would have otherwise spent alone. Since I did not bring my car with me to Nebraska and have no means of transportation of my own, many of the workers here have offered to take me to where I need to go, such as to the store for groceries. For all of this, I am extremely grateful.

As I mentioned in my last post, half of my duties as the Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) intern involve visitor services, while the other half are working on an oral history project. Specifically, that history project has me transcribing audio files of interviews the park conducted in previous years. Most of these interviews are of former employees of Dempster’s, a once popular manufacturing company located here in Beatrice. As another history project, I am also researching Latino homesteaders. The Homestead Act of 1862, which gave homesteaders 160 acres of land, was open to people from all over the world. I am looking through census records to see how Latin Americans took advantage of this opportunity.

Until next time!

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